In order to protect yourself these are very important questions to ask your Tax Professional.
- Do you have a PTIN?
It is a requirement by the IRS that all tax preparer who is compensated for tax preparation services should have a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number)
- Can you represent me in front of the IRS?
Anything can happen after submitting your Tax return, it is comforting to know that the person you have entrusted with your financial information will be capable of assisting you if you need to go in front of the IRS. They should at least be able to represent you at customer service. The only credential needed for customer service representation is AFSP (Annual Filing Season Program)
- What are your credentials and what do they mean?
credentials give you an idea of what the person can do for you and that they take their business seriously. Credentials can be CPA (certified Public Accountant, EA (Enrolled Agent) or AFSP (Annual Filing Season Participant).
- How long have you been practicing?
It is very important to check your Tax preparer credentials and years of experience, just to ensure you are entrusting your financial information to a professional.
- Where should I have my refund deposited?
This question is to feel out your Tax Preparer, if they want you to deposit your refund into an account which they control, that is a red flag. You should immediately get up and leave. There is an option to use a bank product which deduct their fees and deposit your refund into your account.
- When will you complete my return?
Your Tax professional should be able to give you a deadline on when they will complete your tax return, you have to ensure they are not taking on too much work, which will prevent them from meeting the April deadline.
- Are you available year-round?
It is very important that you do not hire a fly by night tax preparer. Anything can happen after your return was submitted to the IRS and you might need your Tax Preparer assistance with an issue and not sure how to handle it.