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Tips For Picking Out A Tax Preparer

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DETROIT (WWJ) – Tax season is again upon us, and you don’t like to fill out your own income taxes, there are some things to remember when picking out a tax preparer.

The Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants said be sure of a tax preparers qualifications. Spokeswoman Judy Trepeck warns that the cheapest isn’t always the best. She also said to beware of those who offer  “guarantees.”

“The big one is somebody that advertises a guarenteed refund may not be reputiable,” said Trepeck.

“The point is to use somebody that’s qualified and make sure you’re getting what you paid for. Sometimes if they don’t charge enough, it’s too good to be true,” she continued.

The Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants issued a Tax Payer Awareness Guide, which features 10 questions to ask a paid tax preparer:

1. How do you charge your fee and how much will it cost? (Reasonable fees vary, but the cost to prepare your return should not be based on the amount of your refund.)

2. How long have you been preparing tax returns?

3. Are you open and available year-round? (Preparers should be available year-round to help you as needed.)

4. Will I be receiving my refund directly, i.e. through the mail or direct deposit? (Refunds should come to you directly, and direct deposit is the fastest and safest way to get your refund.)

5. If the Michigan Department of Treasury or IRS contacts me regarding my return, will you be able to assist me? (The answer should be yes because you must respond if this happens.)

6. Will you provide me with a copy of my completed tax return and return any original documents I provided? (The answer should be yes)

7. Will you be signing the tax return as a preparer? (Yes.) May I see proof of your PTIN? (All signing preparers are required to have a PTIN.)

8. Are you affiliated with a professional organization?

9. Do you have a professional license, credential or training? If so, may I see proof including current status?

10. How do you learn about new tax laws? (The best answer is through continuing education.)

For more tips and information on getting your taxes prepared, visit www.michcpa.org.

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