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Choosing a Tax Preparer

The best way to choose one is to ask your friends or family who they use. If they have had good experiences with the preparer, they should be happy to recommend him or her. Also organizations like the National Association of Enrolled Agents have data bases that can help choose a qualified professional in your area. Find an Enrolled Agent

Determine if the preparerís credentials meet your needs. Does your state have licensing or registration requirements for paid preparers? Is he or she an Enrolled Agent, Certified Public Accountant, or Attorney?

The IRS provides the following points to keep in mind when someone else prepares your return:

A Paid Preparer is required by law to sign the return and fill in the preparer areas of the form. Although the Preparer signs the return, you are responsible for the accuracy of every item on your return. In addition, the preparer must give you a copy of the return.

Avoid tax preparers that ask you to sign a blank tax form.

Choose a preparer that will be around to answer questions after the return has been filed.

Review the completed return to ensure all tax information - your name, address and Social Security number(s) - are correct. Make sure that none of these spaces is left blank.

Review and ensure that you understand the entries and are comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign.

The most important thing I can tell you about choosing a tax preparer is to stay away from anyone who bases their fees on your refund amount or who tells you they can get you a larger refund than any other professional.