Photo: Wyckoff, Chad (CMG-Dayton)
Photo: Wyckoff, Chad (CMG-Dayton)

Looking for a tax preparer needn’t be taxing

Leap year occurs every four years on February 29. Luckily for many, 2016 is a Leap year, which means one more day for those who procrastinate getting their taxes filed. While many people are prepared when tax season approaches, some people look to professionals for last minute help. Your Better Business Bureau advises you to take your time choosing a trustworthy tax professional.

Over the last year, more than 581,000 inquiries and about 1,700 complaints were filed with your BBB across North America about tax preparer services. Locally, more than 4,700 inquiries were filed with your BBB about this industry in 2015.

When you start your search, your BBB says apply these tax tips:

• Consider the tax preparer’s reputation and years of service. Also, look for someone who has handled a variety of tax situations, in both good and bad economic times.

• Get several quotes. Don’t settle for the lowest one. Find out if there’s an extra charge for a complicated return or for other services.

• Check with family and friends. If they’re happy with who they’ve used, most likely you’ll be too.

• Determine if the tax preparer will be around to answer questions about your return in the future and can represent you in an audit and at what cost. In some cases, companies may set up a location for a few months and are hard to track down after April 15.

• Check credentials. Ideally, your tax preparer should either be a certified public accountant, a tax attorney or an enrolled agent. All three can represent you before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in all matters, including an audit.

• Find out if the tax preparer is a member of a professional association like the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP).

• Don’t fall for promises of big refunds. Be wary of any tax preparer promising larger refunds than the competition. Avoid anyone who bases their fee on a percentage of the refund.

• Ask questions.

If you have any questions regarding tax preparation services, get help from your BBB, such as a list of BBB Accredited tax preparer’s and Business Reviews on ones you’re considering. Visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.

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