How To Choose A Tax Preparer carefully

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

While computer-based tax preparation products have simplified the tax return process, many people still prefer to have their taxes done by a professional tax preparer.

Like doing taxes, the process of selecting a tax preparer requires time and careful consideration.

Most tax preparers come with good credentials. But there are some who are less that reputable.

When considering using a tax preparer, the American Bar Association suggests these tips for consumers:

_ Avoid tax preparers who guarantee a refund. Only the Internal Revenue Service can determine whether an individual or couple can receive a refund.

_ Skip the services of a preparer who promises a bigger refund than anyone else. Every preparer should come up with substantially similar numbers when returns are done the right way.

_ Don't use a preparer who asks you to sign a blank return.

_ Avoid a preparer who requires that the refund be mailed directly to him or her.

_ Never use a preparer that charges a percentage of a refund as a preparation fee.

If you have questions or doubt about a tax preparation service, it might be worth it to contact the local Better Business Bureau to learn if any complaints have been lodged against the preparer.

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