Bear in mind that knowingly providing false information on your tax return is a crime, so you should ensure that whatever is written by your tax preparer on your tax forms is accurate. It goes without saying that you should also ensure no fraudulent means are used to cheat the system and obtain refunds or credits you are not entitled to. The law holds you, not your tax preparer, responsible for the accuracy of the tax information in your tax return.
In view of this, you should only hire a tax preparer with the utmost standards of integrity and competence to prepare your tax forms. Here are some ways you can ensure that:
1. Ask for your tax preparer’s Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) that shows he or she is a registered tax preparer
2. Ask if your tax preparer is affiliated with any reputable firm that prepares tax returns and holds its preparers accountable for their work
3. Ask for details of previous tax cases your tax preparer has worked with before, especially on cases similar to yours
4. Avoid hiring tax preparers who promise you more refunds than other preparers
5. Avoid tax preparers who charge you a percentage of your refunds as their fees
6. Make sure your tax preparer states his PTIN and signs on your tax form and that he or she is contactable months or even years after your tax return has been submitted. This is so that your preparer can provide answers to the IRS in case of an audit.
7. Do not ever sign a blank tax form
8. Ask for recommendations from friends or family members
9. Never trust a tax preparer who encourages you to be dishonest on your tax forms
If you do have a dispute over your tax case, only a tax attorney, CPA or enrolled agent can represent you before the IRS. If your tax preparer is not one of these categories of professionals, then he or she can only represent you in the event of an audit on a tax return that he has personally prepared.
If you need help in your taxes, call us at (813) 229 7100 for a free consultation.