How to find the right tax preparer

Taxes can be exceedingly confusing to prepare, and many people look for help from an expert to make the process easier. But how do you know which preparer to choose? Most tax preparers are honest and do their jobs very well. But it is your responsibility to make sure your taxes are paid accurately and honestly. You must be very careful and informed about whom to choose to prepare your taxes.

Video: How to Pick a Tax Professional

Know what to expect

Before you choose a tax preparer, you should be aware of some general ground rules. First, every paid tax preparer is legally required to sign his or her name as the preparer of your report (but remember: you are still responsible for your report’s accuracy.). When a preparer completes your report, you must review every last detail to make sure it is accurate. Make sure no information on the form is left out. Always make signing the report that last thing you do; only sign a tax return if you are sure it is complete (and sign it in pen). Make sure you have signed all your Powers of Attorney forms for tax attorneys. Finally, checking the Third Party Authorization box on your return indicates that the IRS can consult your paid preparer if there is any issue that needs to be resolved.

Find a tax preparer who is prepared

Make sure you are aware of all those rights before you look for a tax preparer, and that your preparer is too. If your tax preparer is unqualified, you may have problems with your tax reports, problems that you will be responsible for. This could lead to penalties, extra debt, and unnecessary interest. Additionally, there are reduced fee tax services available for low-income, elderly, and military families.

Remember: no preparer can save you money

Some tax preparers will claim they can reduce your tax debt or give you credits. But no preparer can change the amount you owe. These preparers may not be trustworthy, so avoid them. If a tax preparer claims to guarantee a result, he is being dishonest. It is also illegal and unethical to charge a commission based on the amount of debt you owe. This is called a contingent fee and stay away from it.

Always communicate with your preparer

If a tax preparer asks you constant questions about your income and expenses, asks to see receipts, and requests explanations of your deductions, don’t be afraid: this is a sign of a good tax preparer. Your relationship with a tax preparer depends on trust and full disclosure. Your tax preparer should always be ready to answer any questions you have and resolve any issues. Make sure you know your tax preparer on an individual basis: his name, and where he can be reached.

Be aware of unethical practices

Video: Choose a Reputable Tax Preparer

Of course, some companies have histories of unethical practices. You can consult the records of the Better Business Bureau to see if any tax preparer has had reported incidents of abuse. Check to see if your tax preparer is familiar with all your local state, county and city tax guidelines (currently, California and Oregon are the only states that regulate tax preparers).

Honesty is still the best policy

Of course, tax schemes, abusers, and unregulated companies are still prevalent. provides a list of all widespread signs of abuse and new scams. If you are prepared, you need not worry about these problems. Know your rights, know what to look out for, and choose your tax preparer carefully. Remember: trust is the key.

Reputable Tax Preparers:

H & R Block
1 800 472 5625

Jason Hewitt Tax Service
1 800 234 1040

Premier Tax Solution
866 482 9735

Titan Tax Relief
1 800 498 9705

Jeffrey Segall CPA
New York, New York
212 302 0560