How to Choose a Tax Return Preparer

Posted on March 05, 2015

More than 149 million tax returns were filed last year, and more than half of those tax returns were prepared with the help of a paid tax return preparer.

Filing a tax return represents one of the biggest financial transactions of the year for many taxpayers. As such, filling out tax returns honestly and accurately is critically important. The accuracy of tax returns is even more important this year because of changes to tax law, the proliferation of tax scams and the new provisions of Obamacare.

When selecting a tax professional:

  1. Choose an honest and ethical preparer, preferably a certified public accountant (CPA).
  2. If your tax return preparer promises a refund without first carefully reviewing your tax information, then that preparer is likely acting in an unethical fashion.
  3. Be sure that the tax return preparer signs your tax return and includes a Preparer Tax Identification Number. All tax preparers are required to have a valid Preparer Tax Identification Number. Also be sure to review your tax return to make sure that it is honest and accurate and ask any questions that you may have before signing the tax return.
  4. Because you are ultimately legally responsible for what is on your tax return, even if someone else prepared it, carefully review your tax return before it is filed.
  5. Finally, never sign a blank tax return which is a clear red flag that you are working with an unscrupulous tax return preparer.

Patrick T. Sheehan & Associates regularly works with qualified tax return preparers to assist our clients with preparing honest and accurate tax returns. Do you have unfiled tax returns and need a referral to a qualified CPA? Call us, we can help.

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