Not all tax preparers are alike and so, to offer some guidance and protection against fraud, the IRS has implemented changes to help you identify reputable tax preparers. Here are some important tips from the IRS in making sure that you have or are choosing a reputable tax preparer:
  • Check the preparer's credentials.  Only Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), attorneys and enrolled agents can represent taxpayers before the IRS in all matters, including audits, collection and appeals.  Other return preparers may only represent taxpayers for audits of returns they actually prepared.
  • Find out if the preparer is affiliated with a professional organization that requires its members to attend continuing education and holds them to a code of ethics, such as NYSSCPA and AICPA.
  • Use a reputable tax professional who signs the tax return and provides you a copy.
  • Pick a preparer that you know will be around to answer questions about the preparation of the tax return months, or even years, after the return has been filed.  Be sure it's not someone who just sets up a storefront office for a few months at tax time.
  • Be cautious of tax preparers who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers and / or guarantee they will find errors on past returns.
  • Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the refund.