BBB offers tips to hire a tax preparer


SIDNEY — Filing for taxes can be a dreadful, overwhelming, and confusing experience. Fortunately, it is possible to shift that burden to a tax professional.

It is important to choose wisely when hiring a tax preparer. The individual should be someone trustworthy when sharing personal information, such as marriage income, children, and social security numbers.

There are various types of professionals who can be hired to do the job, including certified public accountants, enrolled agents, attorneys, and non-credentialed tax preparers.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers the following tips when hiring a tax preparer:

• Do research. Check reviews, websites, and authenticity to be sure the individual is a qualified professional.

• Review credentials. Certain tax preparers are only qualified for basic matters or assisting with forms. Enrolled agents, certified public accountants, and tax attorneys are qualified to represent clients to the IRS on all accounts.

• Beware of big promises. If a tax preparer promises you a larger refund than the competition, it is a red flag. Some tax preparers base their fees on the amount of your return and may be likely to use shady tax preparation tactics. Additionally, it is wise to avoid tax preparers who offer “refund anticipation loans,” as the tax client is likely to lose a large percentage of their return to commission fees.

• Get referrals. Ask friends and family for recommendations of tax professionals they have used and trusted.

• Do not allow the preparer to deposit returns into his or her account.

• Provide the preparer with records and receipts. These documents will be needed so that he or she can figure things like the total income, tax deductions, and tax credits.

• Think about availability. Will he or she be available to help you with errors or an audit?

• Ask about fees ahead of time. Read contracts carefully and understand how much the tax preparer charges for services. Ask about extra fees.

• Review documents before signing anything. Most tax preparers are honest and provide excellent services to clients. However, some are untrustworthy.

As a reminder, the deadline to file taxes is April 18, 2022.

For more information about hiring a tax preparer, visit BBB.org or call 937-222-5825 or 800-776-5301.

BBB can provide a list of BBB-accredited tax professionals and business profiles.

Report tax fraud by visiting irs.gov as well as the BBB’s Scam Tracker at BBB.org/ScamTracker.