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how to choose the right tax preparer for seniorsWill you be paying someone to do your tax return? If so, it is very important to choose a tax preparer wisely. Since you will be legally responsible for what’s on your tax returns even if someone else prepares them, it will definitely be best to get a qualified tax professional.

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Reputable preparers will ask multiple questions to determine whether expenses, deductions and other items qualify and remind clients that they need to keep careful and complete records in order to substantiate information on their tax return. By doing so, they have your best interest in mind and are trying to help you avoid penalties, interest, or additional taxes that could result from later IRS contacts.

Most tax return preparers are professional, honest and provide excellent service to their clients however it is always better to do your research. Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing a tax preparer:

1. Find out what the service fees are before the return is prepared. Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount of your refund or who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers.

2. Only use a tax professional that signs your tax return and provides you with a copy for your records.

3. Avoid tax preparers that ask you to sign a blank tax form. Remember, it is important to review your tax return before signing it.

4. Choose a tax preparer that will be around to answer questions months, or even years, after the return has been filed.

5. Ask friends and family whether they know anyone who has used the tax professional and whether they were satisfied with the service they received.

6. Check to see if the preparer has any questionable history with the Better Business Bureau, the state’s board of accountancy for CPAs or the state’s bar association for attorneys. Find out if the preparer belongs to a professional organization that requires its members to pursue continuing education and also holds them accountable to a code of ethics.

7. Determine if the preparer’s credentials meet your needs. Does your state have licensing or registration requirements for paid preparers? Is he or she an Enrolled Agent, Certified Public Accountant, or Attorney? If so, the preparer can represent taxpayers before the IRS on all matters, including audits, collections, and appeals. Other return preparers can represent taxpayers only in audits regarding a return signed as a preparer.

You can report any tax fraud or abusive tax preparer, to the IRS using Form 3949-A, or by sending a letter to Internal Revenue Service, Fresno, CA 93888.

Read Tax Saving Tips to if you are interested in finding out ways on how you can lower your tax bill. By keeping these things in mind, not only will you be able to save on taxes by lowering your tax bill, but it will also help ensure that you will get the maximum tax refund due to you.

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