Tips for Selecting the Right Professional to Prepare your Tax Returns by Joanie Stein, CPA

Posted on February 25, 2020 by Joanie Stein

You have a wide range of options when it comes to choosing someone to help you prepare your federal tax return. However, not all tax preparers are created equal. It is crucial that you carefully vet each potential preparer and choose wisely, since you, as the taxpayer, are ultimately responsible for the returns you file and your related tax liabilities.

Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in scams involving tax preparation services, including unethical “ghost tax-return preparers” who will promise you a big refund and/or charge fees based on a percentage of that amount. These scammers, who often require payment in cash, will typically invent income to erroneously qualify their clients for tax credits or claim fake deductions to boost refunds. It is also common for ghost preparers to direct a client’s erroneous refunds into their own bank accounts rather than those of their taxpayer clients.

When selecting a tax-return preparer, remember to follow these tips:

Finally, it is important to also consider whether the preparer you select can offer additional services to help you improve your tax efficiency in the future. This may include estate planning, international tax planning, and business advisory services, including succession planning, mergers and acquisitions due diligence, business valuations and process and operational improvements.

About the Author: Joanie B. Stein, CPA, is a senior manager in the Tax Services practice of Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs, where she works with individuals and closely held businesses to implement sound strategies that are intended to preserve wealth and improve tax-efficiency. She can be reached at the CPA firm’s Miami office at (305) 379-7000 or via email at