BBB offers tips on choosing the right tax preparer

Need help filing your taxes? Your BBB encourages you to use caution when selecting tax preparation help. Using the wrong preparer could cost a lot–in IRS-related headaches, fines, and fees.

Every year, BBB receives thousands of complaints against tax preparers. Complainants often say the tax preparer made errors in their return, which resulted in fines and fees.

Although tax preparers may sign off on the paperwork, remember you are ultimately responsible for the return. If there are problems, you could be subject to penalties.

BBB offers the following advice when searching for a tax preparer:

  • Ask around. Get referrals from friends and family on who they use. Check the BBB Business Review of the tax preparation service you plan to use at org for detailed complaint information. Use checkbbb.org for a list of BBB Accredited Businesses.
  • Look for credentials. Ideally, your tax preparer should either be a certified public accountant, a tax attorney or an enrolled agent. All three can represent you before the IRS in all matters, including an audit.
  • Don’t fall for the promise of a big refund. Be wary of any tax preparation service promising larger refunds than the competition. Avoid any tax preparer who bases their fee on a percentage of the refund.
  • Think about accessibility. Many tax preparation services only set up shop for the months leading up to April 15. In case the IRS finds errors, or in case of an audit, make sure you are able to contact you tax preparer at any time of the year.
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