I recently read IRS Tax Tip 2020-14, which is titled “Tips to help people choose a reputable tax preparer” and realized their information could make a great checklist for preparers to go by when gearing up.
- Are your qualifications current and correct on the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers? Check this and update your info as needed.
- Check reviews and ratings. Do you have any negative reviews/ratings on Social Media that have not been addressed? Do you have a positive rating with the Better Business Bureau? Are you in good standing with the IRS, State Board or Accountancy and/or State Bar (Attorneys)?
- Are your fees clearly stated and not percentage based? The IRS recommends to avoid preparers whose fees are a percentage of the refund.
- Do you recommend e-file and direct deposit of the refund? The IRS does.
- Provide clear instructions of what you will need from the client and what you will deliver for the fees charged.
- Plan to review the return with the client and encourage questions. This should be one of many returns you do for your client, so make them feel comfortable with their choice.
- Is your PTIN current? If not, you’ve got bigger issues that can’t be solved by this article!
- This should be assumed without having to be stated, but be kind, courteous and honest. Taxes can be very stressful for the taxpayer. You can make the experience less stressful and easy for your client. The IRS encourages taxpayers to report abusive preparers.
We don’t know what the tax season has in store for the profession, but if we wish you a successful and profitable tax season.