Choosing the best tax preparation service for you

It is important to make sure that you have paid the government what you owe. If you don’t, you could face serious fines or even jail time. If you are not comfortable doing the paperwork yourself, you should find a tax preparation service to do it for you. How do you choose the correct one?

Ask about continuing education

The IRS has instituted the Annual Application Season Program, which is a voluntary continuing education program. It is open to any preparer, but is intended for those who do not obtain their credentials through professional associations. Before hiring someone to prepare your return, check what certifications they have and if they are taking continuing education courses.

Ask about the preparer’s tax identification number and who signs the return

When trying to determine who should work on your IRS forms, ask about their PTIN. This number must be valid to legally prepare federal paperwork for compensation. You don’t want to know after the fact that they don’t have a number or that it’s not valid for the year.

Because the PTIN is so important, be sure to ask who is going to sign the return. Do not work with a person who refuses to sign. You should also be wary of any company that doesn’t tell you ahead of time who will be working on your paperwork.

Ask what kind of returns they usually prepare

It is no secret that there are many different types of tax forms. You may only be familiar with the one you have to file each year. The same can be said for some certified public accountants. However, a long time manipulator will be familiar with a wide range of forms. Don’t be afraid to ask if the person is familiar with the documents you need.

Ask about knowledge of state and local requirements

It seems like a given that your preparer should know the requirements of the state you are in. However, if you have recently moved to a different state, you may still need to apply in your previous home state. Because requirements vary from state to state, your tax preparation specialist may not know all the laws of the other state. This is an important question to ask yourself if you have recently moved.

Tax preparation is a great job. You need to find someone who can handle all the paperwork legally and efficiently.