Sometimes choosing a tax preparer can be almost as complicated as filling out a 1040.
The key is to get a preparer whose level of expertise will meet--but not exceed--your needs. You don't need to pay a tax attorney to handle a simple return, but if your finances are extremely complicated, a part-time tax preparer won't do.
The IRS offers a few guidelines for choosing a preparer:
- Ask for recommendations from friends or relatives.
- Avoid a preparer who claims to have a special relationship with the IRS.
- Use a preparer who is in business year-round. You may need your preparer should you be called in for an audit.
- Avoid any preparer who offers to provide documentation to support false or exaggerated deductions.
After your return is prepared, the IRS suggests:
- Check the completed return before signing it and question the preparer on any item you do not understand.
- Be sure to obtain a copy of the return and make sure that the preparer has signed it.