There is only about a month before tax season closes. A majority of people hire professional tax services to prepare and submit their tax returns because it saves time or because their taxes are too complicated to handle by themselves. Some of these services may be rather pricey, so if you wish to engage a professional tax preparer, here are some things you should do. Click here to read or watch more IRS Help resources.
1. Choose the right tax preparer
You are going to want to hire someone competent and qualified. Fortunately, the IRS has enabled you to do so by conducting a regulation exercise in which all professional tax preparers are issued with a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and made it compulsory for them to pass competency tests each year. So ask to see your prospective tax preparer’s PTIN and ask about his track record.
2. Be completely honest and open
Once you have chosen a competent tax preparer, be prepared to be completely honest and open with him or her regarding your finances and certain life events that may affect how much taxes your pay, such as marriage, divorce or your children’s college education. You should also have all relevant financial documents (receipts, statements, bills etc) available for review by your tax preparer.
3. Ask about the fee
It is important that you ask your tax preparer about the fee you will be charged at the start of the discussions. If an accurate amount cannot be determined yet, an estimate will do. Your tax preparer’s fees should be based on the amount of work done and not a portion of the tax return you will receive.
4. Ask your tax preparer to review your previous years’ returns
Although you are engaging your tax preparer to prepare your tax return for last year’s income, you can ask him or her to review previous years’ returns also. This is because some omissions may have been made that you can rectify in your current submission. If you missed out on claiming a tax credit the previous year, your tax preparer can help you claim it in your submission this year.
5. Ask about how to save on taxes
Your discussions with your tax preparer do not have to be limited to how to prepare your tax returns. You should also ask him or her about other tax-related matters like how to save on your taxes, how tax laws affect you etc.
6. Make a record of your discussions
Every time you sit down with your tax preparer to discuss matters, always make a note of it on paper. This will avoid unnecessary disputes or misunderstandings in future.
7. Ask about audits
You have the right to know if your tax preparer can guarantee your submission is error-free. And if you do face an audit, ask how your tax preparer will do to help you.