Choosing the best tax preparation service for you
It is important to make sure you have paid the government what you owe. Failure to do so could result in serious fines or even jail time. If you are not comfortable doing the paperwork yourself, you should find a tax preparation service to do it for you. How do you choose the right one?
Ask about continuing education
The IRS introduced the Annual Seasonal Filing Program, which is a voluntary continuing education program. It is open to any preparer, but is aimed at those who do not obtain their credentials through professional associations. Before you hire someone to prepare your return, check to see what certifications they have and whether they attend continuing education courses.
Ask about the preparer’s tax identification number and who is signing the return
When trying to determine who should work on your IRS forms, ask for their PTIN. This number must be valid in order to legally prepare federal compensation documents. You don’t want to find out after the fact that they don’t have a number or it’s not valid for the year.
Because the PTIN is so important, be sure to ask who will sign the return. Do not work with a person who refuses to sign. You should also be wary of any company that won’t tell you in advance who will be working on your documents.
Ask what type of returns they typically prepare
It’s no secret that there are many different types of tax forms. You may only be familiar with the one you have to file each year. The same can be said for some CPAs. However, a long-time manipulator will be familiar with a wide range of forms. Don’t be afraid to ask if the person is familiar with the documents you need.
Ask about state and local requirements
It sounds like a given that your preparer should know the requirements for the state you’re in. However, if you recently moved to another state, you may still need to file in your previous state. Because the requirements vary from state to state, your tax preparer may not know all the laws of the other state. This is an important question to ask if you’ve recently moved.
Tax preparation is a big deal. You need to find someone who can handle all the paperwork legally and efficiently.
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