Advice for choosing a tax preparer

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Reviewed and adapted with special permission from the IRS by: Andrew Zumwalt, Extension Associate, Personal Financial Planning, University of Missouri Extension

If you pay someone to do your taxes, be careful. Most tax return preparers are professional and honest, but some are not. Some preparers offer high-cost services or arrange refund anticipation loans that reduce refunds. Take the time to find a qualified tax professional. As a taxpayer, you are ultimately responsible for everything on your return no matter who prepared it. Consider using the tips below to choose a preparer who best meets your tax preparation needs.

  • Ask about service fees. Avoid preparers who claim they can get larger refunds than others, those who guarantee results or those whose fees are based on a percentage of the refund.
  • Choose a preparer you will be able to reach after the return is filed. Some preparers only operate during the tax season.
  • Ask questions and get references from tax preparers’ former clients. Were they satisfied with the service? Did they pay reasonable fees?
  • Beware of a preparer who guarantees results or who bases fees on a percentage of the amount of the refund. A practitioner may not charge a contingent fee (percentage of your refund) for preparing an original tax return….

For the complete list of important tips, read the full version of this article at http://missourifamilies.org/features/financearticles/choosetaxprep.htm

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