Top 5 Tips to Find a Perfect Tax Preparer

tax preparationWhen it’s time for paying tax, most of us hurriedly find a tax preparer and get the work done somehow, obviously with much of a hustle. This is because we find the professionals on the 11th hour and don’t bother to find much about them for the rest of the year. Therefore these professionals are mostly hired without checking their credentials and this is simply incredible because we share every personal detail with them including our Social Security Number. Here are a few simple tips you should follow just to be careful on your part and get the work done by a genuine person.

1. Preparer Tax Identification Number

A PTIN is necessary as per the IRS for anyone who prepares or helps in preparing federal tax returns for compensation. The phrase ‘for compensation’ is important. Volunteer preparers don’t require a PTIN. Also make sure that your tax preparer enters her/his PTIN on your return because this too is required by the IRS.

2. E-file System of IRS

It is required by the IRS for any preparer who does more than 10 returns to file electronically via its e-file system. If the preparer you have approached doesn’t offer e-file, s/he may not be doing as much tax preparation as you have thought.

3. Find One with an Additional Designation

It’s relatively easy to get a PTIN; hence take further precaution to get a credentialed tax preparer who is a licensed attorney, certified public accountant (CPA), enrolled agent or who has completed the Annual Filing Season program by the IRS, such as the Accredited Business Accountant/Advisor/Accredited Tax Preparer. All these credentials require varied amounts of study, ongoing education and exams. You can search the IRS’ directory to find this information.

4. Membership of Authority Organizations

It’s good if your tax preparer is a member of organizations like the National Association of Enrolled Agents, the National Association of Tax Professionals, the American Academy of Attorney CPAs etc, as most of these have professional conduct requirements, code of ethics and certification programs.

5. Compare Fees

A site like helps you in finding a local tax professional. With other things, you can also check the fees of these professionals here. Most legitimate tax preparers charge on hourly basis; so, if you find a professional who charges according to the size of the refund or who claims to help you in getting a bigger refund than another guy, you should turn to another professional.

Follow these tips while finding your tax preparer and you can have a smooth proceeding every year.

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