We see many disastrous returns prepared by ill-trained preparers
iStock/Andrew Rich When selecting a preparer, many people shop price and not experience. We don’t like to knock the competition—however, the old axiom, ‘you get what you pay for’ is often true. There are some companies that put their newly hired preparers through a six-week, evenings-only tax course, and then turn them loose to prepare returns with very little oversight. In other words, the person preparing your return might have been styling hair or selling appliances six weeks ago. Just because someone claims they are a CPA doesn’t necessarily mean they know taxes. Ask about their background, what kind of practice they have, and if they’re familiar with your state’s tax laws. (This is everything you need to know about filing your taxes after a big life change.)
Get organized before your appointment
Nothing is more frustrating than when clients show up with a box full of receipts and forms and say ‘prepare my tax return.’ Take the time to organize your tax items into something we can use—like a spreadsheet. At the very least, write everything down so we know what is included. This is the smartest way to spend your tax refund (according to science).