Choosing a Tax Preparer « 1-10-2011
The IRS released tax tip 2011-06, "Points to Keep in Mind When Choosing A Tax Preparer", on January 10, 2011. While we at D.K. Arndt, P.C. would like to think we are a great choice, we understand you as the tax payer needs to make the decision best for you. Here are the points the IRS wants you to keep in mind when choosing someone to prepare your income tax return:
1. Ask if the preparer is affiliated with a professional organization that provides its members with continuing education and resources and holds them to a code of ethics.
D.K. Arndt, P.C. is a member of the AICPA, a national organization, and the ISCPA, state of Iowa. Both require their members to complete 40 hours of continuing education each year, including 4 hours of ethics every three years.
In addition, the IRS requires individuals that prepare tax returns to have a preparer tax identification number (PTIN). All professionals at D.K. Arndt participate in the PTIN program. The education requirements for this program allows the same as required by the AICPA and ISCPA.
2. Check on the preparer's history.
Use the Better Business Bureau to check for any disciplinary actions and licensure status. You can also check the AICPA or ISCPA websites for preparers in the news for license problems or disciplinary actions taken.
3. Find out about their service fees. Do not have a preparer that bases their fees on the refund they can claim for you.
As members of the AICPA, our ethic standards do not permit our fees to be based on a percentage of your refund. Each professional has an hourly rate, and the time involved on preparing the return determines the amount of the fee. D.K. Arndt uses the latest software and technology to be as efficient as possible in preparing a tax return.
4. Make sure the tax preparer is accessible. Your tax return may need to be filed by April 15, but that does not mean that your need for service ends then. Make sure your preparer will be available in case questions arise.
D.K. Arndt is a full service accounting and consulting company open all year long. Even if the individual that prepared your tax return is on vacation, a qualified professional will be available to assist you.
5. Provide all records and receipts needed to prepare your return.
When sending information to the IRS regarding deductions claimed, it is necessary to make sure you keep the documentation supporting your claim. We at D.K. Arndt ask for records to help support the information that is provided with the filing of your tax return. We will ask you questions to help determine whether certain deductions may be better than others as well. We do not want to claim to get you the largest refund available if the refund is not supported, however, we will work at managing your taxes based on the information you provide us.
6. Never sign a blank return.
This is good advice for anything. There are several forms available that can send your refund to another person, or give a person Power of Attorney. Make sure that anything you sign is thoroughly reviewed and explained to you, if necessary.
7. Review the entire return before signing it.
Like in number 6, do not create a risk for yourself by signing a form you do not understand. In addition, you are responsible for the information on your tax return. Make sure you can easily find the information you supplied your preparer on the tax return.
8. Make sure the preparer signs the form and includes their PTIN.
Paid preparers are required by law to sign the tax return and include their PTIN on the return. D.K. Arndt, P.C. supplies signed copies of all returns prepared by our firm.
As you begin to consider what tax professional is best for you, remember to consider these eight suggestions to consider. D.K. Arndt, P.C. firmly believes we meet, and exceed, these eight qualities to assist you in preparing your tax returns. Contact us today at one of our locations to schedule an appointment.