It’s tax time, and before hiring someone to do your taxes, it’s wise to do some research on prospective tax preparers.
When the time comes to file taxes, scammers find a number of ways to take advantage of consumers, exploiting the increased transfer of financially sensitive information. While many scams involve strategic hacks into people’s financial accounts or phishing emails to gain information, sometimes it is the tax preparer who is exploiting information exchanged in confidence from a paying customer.
What is it you should look for when researching a prospective tax preparer? Below we’ve listed four helpful tips to get you started.
- Go to the IRS preparer directory and find the name of the preparer you want to hire. Professional tax preparers are required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number, or PTIN. If you don’t see their name, do not hire them.
- Visit the state licensing board website to ensure that the preparer’s license is valid and in good standing.
- Check out the Better Business Bureau and look for any complaints that may have been filed about your potential hire.
- If your preparer claims to be part of a professional association, visit the website to make sure they are actually a member. You can also contact the association to inquire about any complaints that may have been made against the preparer.
Taking these steps will help weed out problematic tax preparers and provide more information about others you may want to hire instead. The tax preparer industry is relatively unregulated, which means that unethical preparers can exist under the radar more easily. As always, if you have any questions, please contact us.
Check out these blogs for information on related topics:
What Can You Do To Protect Against Malicious Websites and Phishing Emails
The IRS and Its Trouble With Tax Fraud