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Many of you will get assistance from a professional tax preparer or tax software when filing their taxes this year. Better Business Bureau encourages taxpayers to use caution when selecting tax preparation help. Using the wrong preparer could cause the taxpayer a lot of headaches, fines, and fees.
According to the IRS, 80 percent of Americans enlist the help of a tax preparer or tax software when filing their taxes. Unfortunately, every year BBB receives thousands of complaints from consumers against tax preparers. Complainants often state that the tax preparer made errors in their return, which resulted in fines and fees.
BBB wants to remind you, that you are responsible for the accuracy of information on your tax return, whether you prepare the return or hire someone else to do so. Consider these factors:
· Avoid tax preparers who claim they can get you bigger refunds than others, or larger ones than what you've gotten in previous years.
· Be very careful when choosing a tax preparer. Try to use preparers that others have already used and can vouch for. Remember if someone else prepares your return, you are ultimately responsible for all the information on the tax return.
· Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount of the refund.
· Consider whether the individual or firm will be around to answer questions about the preparation of your tax return, months, even years, after the return has been filed.
· IRS criminal investigation department reminds you to never sign blank tax forms.
· Before you accept the offer, consider the cost of “instant refunds” or “refund anticipation loans” that may be offered by tax preparers or the sellers of tax preparation software. The IRS will usually direct deposit your tax refund to your bank account within a few days after your return is filed. This can turn your “instant refund” into a very high cost short-term loan.
For more advice on finding professionals you can trust, visit www.bbb.org or call 1-800-388-2222.