Make a Wise Choice when Selecting a Tax Preparer

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While there is still time before the next tax filing season, choosing a return preparer now allows more time for taxpayers to consider appropriate options and to find and talk with prospective tax preparers rather than during tax season when they’re most busy.

Furthermore, it enables taxpayers to do some wise tax planning for the rest of the year. If a taxpayer prefers to pay someone to prepare their return, the Internal Revenue Service encourages them to choose that person wisely as the taxpayer is legally responsible for all the information included on the return.

Below are some tips taxpayers can keep in mind when selecting a tax professional:

  • Select an ethical preparer. Taxpayers entrust some of their most vital personal data with the person preparing their tax return, including income, investments and Social Security numbers.
  • Ask about service fees. Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the refund or those who say they can get larger refunds than others. Taxpayers need to ensure that any refund due is sent to them or deposited into their bank account, not into a preparer’s account.
  • Be sure to use a preparer with a preparer tax identification number (PTIN). Paid tax return preparers must have a current PTIN to prepare a tax return. It is also a good idea to ask the preparer if they belong to a professional organization and attend continuing education classes.
  • Research the preparer’s history. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the preparer has a questionable history. For the status of an enrolled agent’s license, check with the IRS Office of Enrollment (enrolled agents are licensed by the IRS and are specifically trained in federal tax planning, preparation and representation). For certified public accountants, verify with the state board of accountancy; for attorneys, check with the state bar association.
  • Ask for e-file. Any paid preparer who prepares and files more than 10 returns for clients generally must file the returns electronically.
  • Provide tax records. A good preparer will ask to see records and receipts. Do not use a preparer who is willing to e-file a return using the latest pay stub instead of the Form W-2. This is against IRS e-file rules.
  • Make sure the preparer is available after the filing due date. This may be helpful if questions come up about the tax return. Taxpayers can designate their paid tax return preparer or another third party to speak to the IRS concerning the preparation of their return, payment/refund issues and mathematical errors. The third party authorization check box on Form 1040, Form 1040A and Form 1040EZ gives the designated party the authority to receive and inspect returns and return information for one year from the original due date of the return (without regard to extensions).
  • Review the tax return and ask questions before signing. Taxpayers are legally responsible for what’s on their return, regardless of whether someone else prepared it. Make sure it’s accurate before signing it.
  • Never sign a blank tax return. If a taxpayer signs a blank return the preparer could then put anything they want on the return — even their own bank account number for the tax refund.
  • Preparers must sign the return and include their PTIN as required by law. The preparer must also give the taxpayer a copy of the return.

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Safeguard Your Refund – Choose Direct Deposit

Issue Number:    IRS Tax Tip 2013-15

Direct deposit is the fast, easy and safe way to receive your tax refund. Whether you file electronically or on paper, direct deposit gives you access to your refund faster than a paper check.

Here are four reasons more than 80 million taxpayers chose direct deposit in 2012:

1. Security.  Every year the U.S. Postal Service returns thousands of paper checks to the IRS as undeliverable. Direct deposit eliminates the possibility of a lost, stolen or undeliverable refund check.

2. Convenience.  With direct deposit, the money goes directly into your bank account. You will not have to make a special trip to the bank to deposit the money yourself.

3. Ease.  It’s easy to choose direct deposit. When you are preparing your tax return, simply follow the instructions on the tax return or in the tax software. Make sure you enter the correct bank account and bank routing transit numbers.

4. Options.  You can deposit your refund into more than one account. With the split refund option, taxpayers can divide their refunds among as many as three checking or savings accounts and up to three different U.S. financial institutions. Use IRS Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases), to divide your refund. If you are designating part of your refund to pay your tax preparer, you should not use Form 8888. You should only deposit your refund directly into accounts that are in your own name, your spouse’s name or both if it’s a joint account.

Some banks require both spouses’ names on the account to deposit a tax refund from a joint return. Check with your bank for their direct deposit requirements.

For more Information: www.onts9.com

 

Safeguard Your Refund – Choose Direct Deposit

Issue Number:    IRS TAX TIP 2012-24

 Direct deposit is the fastest, safest way to receive your tax refund. When a taxpayer combines e-file and direct deposit, the IRS will likely issue your refund in as few as 10 days.

Here are four reasons more than 79 million taxpayers chose direct deposit in 2011:

1. Security Thousands of paper checks are returned to the IRS by the U.S. Post Office every year as undeliverable mail. Direct deposit eliminates the possibility of your refund check being lost, stolen or returned to the IRS as undeliverable.

2. Convenience The money goes directly into your bank account. You won’t have to make a special trip to the bank to deposit the money yourself.

3. Ease When you’re preparing your return; simply follow the instructions on your return or in the tax software. Make sure you enter the correct bank account and bank routing numbers.

4. Options You can deposit your refund into multiple accounts. With the split refund option, taxpayers can divide their refunds among as many as three checking or savings accounts and up to three different U.S. financial institutions. Use IRS Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases), to divide your refund. A word of caution: Some financial institutions do not allow a joint refund to be deposited into an individual account. Check with your bank or other financial institution to make sure your direct deposit will be accepted. Additionally, Form 8888 should NOT be used to designate part of your refund to pay your tax preparer.

For more information about direct deposit of your tax refund and the split refund option, check the instructions for your tax form. Helpful tips are also available in IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax. To get a copy of Publication 17 or Form 8888, visit the IRS Forms and Publications section at the IRS.gov website or call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

For more information: www.onts9.com