Before You Hire Someone To File Your Taxes, Look Out For Red Flags

How to get a bigger refund Filing taxes can be complicated, and many people turn to professionals to do it for them. But how do you know if your...

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How to get a bigger refund

Filing taxes can be complicated, and many people turn to professionals to do it for them. But how do you know if your tax preparer is legitimate? Maurie Backman, a reporter for USA Today, says to look out for a few red flags.

First, make sure your tax preparer has a PTIN, or a preparer tax identification number. “The IRS requires all individuals who get paid to prepare taxes, or assist with tax preparation, to have a preparer tax identification number or PTIN. This regulation has been in place for quite some time, so if the person you’re thinking of hiring doesn’t have one, look for someone who does,” Backman writes.

Also, look out for any tax preparer who promises you’ll get a big refund. A professional will never make such guarantees, Backman says.

“While it’s true that the majority of people who file a tax return wind up with a refund, that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to get one. And any tax preparer who promises to get you a refund, or a big refund, should be avoided,” Backman says. “Without reviewing your tax details thoroughly, there’s no way a preparer can legitimately promise a refund.”

If your preparer demands a cut of your tax refund as a fee for their service, that’s another red flag. “If that’s how your tax preparer makes his or her money, then there’s a good chance he or she will be tempted to take liberties with your return to snag a higher rate, and that’s not what you want,” Backman says.

Also, be wary of tax preparers who don’t offer audit support. If you get audited by the IRS, your tax preparer should be willing and able to walk you through the process, Backman says.

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