IRS guidelines to follow when you’re choosing a tax preparer

It’s time to meet your tax preparer and file your income tax returns. The tax return preparer can help you file your income tax returns properly and possibly can even help you get a refund. So it’s extremely important to choose your tax preparer carefully.

IRS guidelines for choosing a tax preparer

The IRA has issued a few guidelines for choosing a tax preparer. Make sure you follow all of them.

1. Check out the qualification of your tax preparer:

Go to the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications page and check out the list of tax preparers in the directory. You can find plenty of tax preparers along with their qualification.

2. Look at the track record of your tax preparer:

The best way to do is to find out if any disciplinary action has been taken against the tax preparer in the past. You can check the BBB for a tax preparer. In case of a CPA, you can verify with the State Board of Accountancy. If you want to check the track record of enrolled agents, then click here.

3. Avoid a tax preparer who gives you a blank form:

A good tax preparer won’t ask you to sign a blank tax form. So if a tax planner tells you, “Sign the blank tax form. I will check all your tax documents and fill out the form later”, it’s best to not work with him.

4. Find out if the preparer is there for you:

Tax is an important part of our financial life. So you should try to manage it properly. This means you may need the tax planner’s help even after April 17, 2018. Where will you go if the tax planner is not there for you at that time? Avoid a tax preparer who is only there for you during the tax filing season.

5. Know about the service fees:

Ask how much the tax preparer is charging for the service fees. If the tax preparer is charging a percentage of the refund as a service fee, avoid him. Also stay away from a tax preparer who promises you to give bigger refunds than others. Don’t give tax documents, Social Security Numbers or other papers when you’re inquiring about a preparer’s fees.

6. Check the PTIN:

A reliable tax preparer should have a Preparer Tax Identification Number. All the paid tax preparers have to sign income tax returns and mention their PTIN as well.

7. Give your receipts:

A credible tax planner would want to see your receipts and records. He may ask you a few questions regarding your total deductions, credits, and income.

8. Ask questions and review:

Give full cooperation to the tax preparer. The tax preparer may ask you a few questions before filing your income tax returns. Give honest answers to him. As a taxpayer, you should make sure your tax return is accurate. Take steps to see that the refund goes to your bank account directly - not to the tax preparer’s account. Check if your bank account number is accurately reported on your tax return. Ask for a copy of the completed tax return from the tax preparer.

What to do if you find a dishonest tax preparer

Usually, tax preparers are honest and they give a fabulous service to their clients. However, some tax preparers mislead taxpayers and don’t follow the laws. If you find an abusive taxpayer, report the fraud to the IRS. You can submit the Form 14157 for registering a complaint against the tax preparer. If you have found out that the tax preparer has manipulated your income tax returns without your permission, then you can submit the Form 14157-A.


Let me tell you one thing. The tax preparer knows everything about your financial life. You can’t hide anything from him. So be very careful when you’re selecting a tax preparer. Follow the guidelines and choose the best tax preparer in town for taking care of your financial life in the best possible way.

The last date to file your income tax returns is April 17, 2018. You don’t have much time left in your hand. So hurry up!

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