The slumping economy has made many of our personal finances more complex this year than they were in the past. As a result you might be thinking about looking for a tax preparer.
You will want to start asking around soon for references. As you start your search, here are some tips from the Internal Revenue Service on how to choose a tax preparer:
Avoid preparers who market themselves as being able to obtain a larger refund than other firms.
Stay away from preparers who guarantee results or base fees on a percentage of the refund.
Understand that a preparer will ask for receipts and ask plenty of questions to determine your eligibility for certain deductions. So don't be put off.
Determine the preparer's credentials. Is the person an enrolled agent (a tax law specialist), a certified public accountant or a tax attorney? Only preparers with these certifications can represent taxpayers before the IRS.
Choose a firm where you know exactly who will be preparing your return and that it won't be delegated to a junior staffer.
As a final safeguard, check with the Better Business Bureau or other regulatory agencies, such as the state bar association, to determine whether the person has any history of questionable conduct.