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Lev
Lev, Tax Advisor
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 22617
Experience:  Taxes, Immigration, Labor Relations
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It was an H and R Block preparer who handled this. How can ...

Customer Question

It was an H and R Block preparer who handled this. How can I find someone I can trust will do what's best for me?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Lev replied 6 years ago.

Is there something wrong with preparation of your tax return? What exactly you do not like?

You as a taxpayer is legally responsible for what's on your tax returns even if prepared by someone else. So, it is important to choose carefully when hiring an individual or firm to prepare personal returns. Most return preparers are professional, honest and provide excellent service to their clients. Here are a few points to keep in mind when someone else prepares your return:

  • A Paid Preparer is required by law to sign the return and fill in the preparer areas of the form. The preparer should also include their appropriate identifying number on the return. Although the Preparer signs the return, you are responsible for the accuracy of every item on your return. In addition, the preparer must give you a copy of the return.
  • Review the completed return to ensure all tax information, your name, address and Social Security number(s) are correct. Make sure that none of these spaces is left blank.
  • Review and ensure you understand the entries and are comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign.
  • Never sign a blank return, and never sign in pencil.
  • If you have provided specific authorization in a power of attorney filed with the IRS, you may have copies of notices or refund checks mailed to your preparer or representative; but only you can sign and cash your refund check.
  • A Third Party Authorization Check Box on Form 1040 allows you to designate your Paid Preparer to speak to the IRS concerning how your return was prepared, payment and refund issues and mathematical errors.

Please let me know what is your concern - and we will try to address it.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Except for the fact that in spite of my requesting that he not file my additional income as a business which he did anyway, claiming it was necessary as the only way to handle it, I have no real problem but I obviously need someone who is more responsive to my needs. I assume it was just the specific preparer but I wanted to know what to look for in trying to find someone who will be looking after my interests.
Expert:  Lev replied 6 years ago.

It would be hard to recommend a specific person - I think that it would be beneficial if you come to the same person every year, but you may change your preferences - go to the different preparer in the same office, or come to the different office, or even go to a different tax preparation service.

For sure - there are other preparers in the same office - at the tax time - you may consult with the office manager. You may also visit HRBlock website - Find the Office and Tax Professional that Are Right for You by entering your zipcode - http://hrblock.com/taxes/products/product.jsp?productId=64

The IRS provides you with this audio interview Advice for Choosing a Tax Return Preparer - http://www.irs.gov/pub/newsroom/marketing/how_to_choose_a_professional_tax_preparer_final_mixdown.mp3 - you may download and listen in your spare time.

use the following tips to choose a preparer who will offer the best service for their tax preparation needs.

  • Ask about service fees. Avoid preparers who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers, or those who guarantee a refund or base fees on a percentage of the amount of the refund.
  • Plan Ahead. Choose a preparer you will be able to contact after the return is filed and one who will be responsive to your needs.
  • Get References. Ask questions and get references from clients who have used the tax professional before. Were they satisfied with the service received?
  • Research. Check to see if the preparer has any questionable history with the Better Business Bureau, the state's board of accountancy for CPAs or the state's bar association for attorneys. Find out if the preparer belongs to a professional organization that requires its members to pursue continuing education and also holds them accountable to a code of ethics.
  • Determine if the preparer's credentials meet your needs. Does your state have licensing or registration requirements for paid preparers? Is he or she an Enrolled Agent, Certified Public Accountant, or Attorney? If so, the preparer can represent taxpayers before the IRS on all matters - including audits, collections, and appeals. Other return preparers can represent taxpayers only in audits regarding a return signed as a preparer.

I also suggest following article - http://www.unclefed.com/AuthorsRow/McCabe/CMchoosetp.html as an additional source of information.

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