Consumer Alert: Finding a reputable tax preparer

Posted: Updated:
EDISON -

As the tax deadline approaches, the IRS is warning taxpayers who use tax preparers to make sure that they are using a reputable person.

The agency says that a little research goes a long way to ensure that all tax forms are filled out correctly.

“You are ultimately responsible for everything that’s on that tax return,” says IRS agent Jonathan Larsen.

Larsen says, “Even though a return preparer may include something on there that may not be accurate, when you file that return, any additional taxes that arose, interest, penalties, you're on the hook for that.”

The IRS says that taxpayers should keep a few things in mind when hiring a preparer.

  • Never sign a blank tax return. A reputable tax preparer won’t ask a taxpayer to do this.
  • The preparer should co-sign the tax return and also include their preparer’s tax ID number.
  • Tax return refunds should only go to the taxpayer’s account, not to the preparer’s first.

Larsen also says not to trust any preparer whose offer seems too good to be true.

“There is no return preparer that can guarantee that anyone would receive a refund,” he says. “If they’re guaranteeing up front, then you should be highly concerned about that return preparer.”

Taxpayers should also check their returns carefully. The taxpayer knows their situation the best and is more likely to notice any mistakes or discrepancies.

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