New regulations effective in 2011 require all paid tax return preparers including attorneys, CPAs and Enrolled Practitioners to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
Check to see if the preparer has a questionable history with the Better Business Bureau and check for any disciplinary actions and licensure status through the state boards of accountancy for certified public accountants; the state bar associations for attorneys; and the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility for Enrolled Practitioners
Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund or those who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers.
Make sure the tax preparer is accessible. Make sure you will be able to contact the tax preparer after the return has been filed, even after the April due date, in case questions arise.
Never sign a blank return. Avoid tax preparers that ask you to sign a blank tax form.
Review the entire return before signing it. Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions. Make sure you understand everything and are comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign it.
Make sure the preparer signs the form, includes their PTIN, AND GIVES YOU A COPY as required by law.
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