Everyone is required to file a tax return. Either as an individual or as a business.
Tax preparation is the process of preparing income tax returns. It is often done by someone other than the taxpayer, and it can generally be for compensation. Tax preparation services can assist in preparation of taxes, sometimes with the help of appropriate tax preparation software.
It can also be done by licensed professionals such as an attorney, certified public accountant or agents.
There are now stipulations and regulations as to whom can prepare and how tax returns are prepared. There are licensing requirements for fee-based preparation of some state tax returns.
Proposed changes will eventually require that all paid federal tax return preparers become registered. The new rules will require that preparers who are compensated, will be required to pass a national tax law exam and undergo continuing education requirements. Some of these requirements may already be met by available tax services.
Certified Public Accountants, attorneys or enrolled agents may be exempt,as they may be already required to take continuing education courses in order to maintain practicing licenses. They will be required to have a practitioner tax identification number (PTIN). The regulations will help to make the decision of choosing this services much easier as competency testing is now required to become officially registered as a tax return preparer.
There are great advantages to using tax preparation services as tax documents can be overly complex and confusing. The actual tax code is a massive document, which very few, but professionals can completely understand.
When choosing tax preparation services, there are some things that you should look for.
• Make sure the preparer is accessible, even after the return has been filed, in case there are questions. Many services appear only at tax season and disappears after taxes have been filed.
• Be sure to provide all records and receipts to prepare your return. Most reputable tax preparation services will need all documents and information to determine your eligibility for credits and deductions.
• You should check the history of tax preparation services. Find out if there any disciplinary actions with the Better Business Bureau and check for the status of the license with the appropriate regulatory boards.
• A tax preparer who is paid, is now required to sign the return and include their PTIN, but you as the taxpayer is still held responsible for the accuracy of all the information that is included in the return.
• Avoid any tax preparers that ask you to sign a blank tax form. This is not only unethical, it may also be illegal.
• Review the return and ask any questions about issues that you do not understand before you sign it. If you are uncomfortable about anything, make sure that all is explained before you put your signature.
• Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions. Make sure you understand everything and are comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign it.
• The fees should be standard and not based on any percentage of your return, as this will present an opportunity for inflating numbers.
Tax preparation services can add convenience with knowledgeable professionals who are required to remain current with taxation laws. They can save both time and money, while providing professional services.