It's tax time, and if you're not doing your own taxes, you're paying someone else to do it. An estimated 84 million taxpayers will choose to use a paid tax preparer this tax season. Here are some IRS tips to choose carefully:
Check the person's qualifications. New regulations require all paid tax return preparers to have what's called a PTIN, or Preparer Tax Identification Number, before preparing any federal tax returns in 2011.
Check to see if the preparer has a questionable history with the Better Business Bureau.
Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund or those who claim they can get a larger refund than anyone else.
Make sure the tax preparer is around and accessible beyond the April deadline. You may have questions about your return, and if they disappear for the rest of the year, it's probably not a good choice.
The IRS makes it clear... it doesn't matter if you or someone else does your taxes... you're the one legally responsible for what's on your tax return. So it's important to hire the right tax preparer.
Click here for more tips on choosing a tax preparer.