Many taxpayers get help when preparing and filing their taxes. Regardless of who prepares your taxes, you are ultimately responsible for:
- the information provided on your tax return,
- filing your tax return (or extension) on time, and
- paying any taxes, interest, or penalties due.
Here are five questions to ask a tax preparer before you provide any personal information or payments:
- Can you legally prepare my taxes? The preparer must have a current Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to file a federal return.
- Are you available after tax season? Preparers should be available for you during tax season and beyond.
- How do you determine your fees? Fees vary, but the cost to prepare your return should never be based on the amount of your refund or the amount of taxes you owe.
- When will my return be ready to review and sign? Make sure your tax preparer allows time for you to thoroughly review all documents and make any necessary corrections before the tax deadline. Do not sign any returns or forms that are blank, say “self-prepared,” are missing the preparer’s information, or are completed in pencil.
- How will I receive my refund or pay any taxes due? Direct deposit into your bank account is the safest and fastest way to receive your refund. Your tax refund or payment should never go to the preparer or to someone whom you do not know.