Many taxpayers hire the services of a tax preparer to prepare their tax returns. Even though many individual taxpayers are able to prepare their return themselves, businesses find it difficult to prepare returns because of the many tax rules that they need to comply to. When hiring a tax preparer, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind to avoid an unscrupulous fraudulent tax preparer.
Ask for the Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). If a tax preparer does not have a PTIN, do not under any circumstances hire that preparer. The IRS has made it mandatory for every practicing tax preparer to have a PTIN. Every tax preparer is required to include their PTIN on each tax return they prepare. This helps the IRS to track the preparer of every tax return they receive, if it has been prepared by a professional tax preparer.
Sign the return only after all the information is completed by the preparer. Before filing, make sure that you are the last person to review the information on the return. Check the filing status, the PTIN, calculations, and signature before filing.
Never agree to pay your preparer a percentage of the refund as fee. Many fraudulent tax preparers entice taxpayers with large refunds from which they take a share. They then use false credits and deductions, and understate income to receive bloated refunds. To avoid falling into the trap of scam tax preparers, stay informed and be careful when choosing your tax preparer.