Consumer Alert: Hiring the right tax preparer

As New Jersey residents prepare to file their tax returns, some may choose to hire a tax preparer to do it for them.

Here are some tips to follow when hiring a tax preparer.

Here are some tips to follow when hiring a tax preparer. (2/19/16)

EDISON - As New Jersey residents prepare to file their tax returns, some may choose to hire a tax preparer to do it for them.

However, IRS officials say that it is important to make sure a reputable tax preparer is hired.

“You as a taxpayer are responsible for everything contained on that tax return,” says IRS Special Agent Jonathan Larsen. “Even though you may have someone that prepared it for you, if that information is inaccurate when it's filed, that taxpayer is responsible for any tax, interest and penalties that are assessed on that.”

Anyone who hires a tax preparer should make sure they have an IRS-issued preparer tax ID number.

Taxpayers are also advised to never sign a blank tax return or to trust a preparer who guarantees a refund in advance. The preparer cannot know that information without seeing the taxpayer’s financial information first.

Taxpayers are also warned to never use a preparer who wants the tax refund to go into their bank account first before giving it to the taxpayer. Also preparer fees should never be based on a percentage of a tax refund.

There are all kinds of options when it comes to hiring someone to do taxes, from a basic tax preparer to a certified public accountant. Some can represent a taxpayer before the IRS in an audit.

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