Tax preparers assist their customers in their personal or company accounts and those in need. From the busy business owner trying to get their companies to the single sole trader who wants a little assistance with their tax returns, tax preparers do it all.
Almost a third of the business owners hire tax preparers, or many want to but do not know how to hire them. Hiring a tax preparer means sharing your business, personal details, marriage, children, and everything else.
However, it is awful that 80% of the businesses who hire tax preparers do not ask them about their credentials or they will provide any tax audit or not, according to a survey. So, before searching for “Accountant Coburg,” note this checklist to narrow your search and find the right agency.
1. Ask for PTIN
Anyone who files or helps file federal tax returns with compensation is required by the IRS to provide a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Note the term “for compensation”-PTINs are not needed for volunteer preparers. Be sure that your income tax preparer places on your return his or her PTIN number, as the IRS also requires that.
2. Ask for License
A PTIN is relatively easier to show. So, try to find an accountant like “Accountant Glenroy” who is also a certified public accountant (CPA) or has completed the IRS Annual Filing Program. A tip for finding the best accountant near you is to search the IRS directory.
3. Find Among Friends
Put your personal network into use. Ask your friends who have a business about their tax preparer. Try to find someone who is in a higher position to get the most details.
4. Compare the Fees
How much is paid to tax preparers? In 2018-2019, according to the National Society of Accountants, the total fee for filing a tax return, including an itemized Form 1040 with Schedule A and a federal tax return, was $294. The average expense without itemized deductions for filing a Form 1040 and state return was $188.
Most legal tax preparers will charge you by hours. So, if you come across an accountant offering a bigger refund than the others, most probably they are a fraud. Even if they are not fraud, it is best to not hire them.
5. Find Someone Who Does E-file
The IRS requires any paid preparer who makes more than 10 returns to file electronically with the IRS’ e-file system for consumers. Suppose your tax preparer is not providing an e-file. In that case, it could indicate that the person is not doing as much tax planning as you expected.
6. Make Sure They Sign
The regulation allows paid preparers to sign the returns of their customers and include their PTINs. The preparer could place something on the return, including their own bank account number, to rob your refund. Never sign a blank tax return.
Enrolled officers, CPAs, and PTIN lawyers will represent you on investigations, fees and collection disputes, and appeals in front of the IRS. Preparers who only have PTINs cannot represent you. Only under limited cases will preparers who complete the Annual Filing Season Program represent clients.