Perhaps you’ve already dealt with the IRS tax consultant, but did you ever inquire about their credentials?
Every taxpayer has the right to be represented. A taxpayer can have someone else represent them with valid written consent. A taxpayer’s representative must be an attorney, former IRS agent, certified public accountant, or enrolled agent who can operate before the IRS. It is not necessary to investigate a representative’s standing. You can, however, confirm a representative’s eligibility.
This time of year, many taxpayers are opting to engage an IRS tax consultant to assist them with their tax returns. People must select their tax return preparer. Taxpayers are responsible for ensuring that all information on their income tax returns is correct.
Why do you require the services of an IRS agent?
You may want the IRS agents to defend you before the IRS. If you have a tax problem, receive an IRS letter about being audited.
Representation permits a professional to “take your place” in front of the IRS, generally, a formal IRS agent, enrolled agent, or tax attorney.
Your representative has the ability to:
- Interact with the Internal Revenue Service. On your behalf, provide facts and explanations.
- Make arrangements with the IRS. In other words, in the view of the IRS, the representative becomes you.
The right to representation for taxpayers exists. A former IRS agent can help you expedite the procedure, relieve you of most of the work, and guarantee you obtain the best possible result.
Aside from researching a tax consultant, there are a few things to consider while seeking tax assistance. Here are three-pointers to help you pick the finest tax preparer or counselor for your needs.
Things to look for future IRS tax consultant
1. Inquire about obtaining a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)
According to the IRS, Anyone who files IRS returns for a fee must have a PTIN. Volunteer tax preparers do not need PTINs, as stated in the term “for pay.” Keep in mind that your future IRS tax consultant includes their PTIN number on your return.
2. A CPA license or an enrolled agent certification may be required.
Get a qualified agent– a formal IRS agent, tax attorney, enrolled agent, or who has completed the IRS’s Annual Filing Season program. Programs such as Accredited Business Accountant/Advisor and Accredited Tax Preparer can assist preparers in meeting the Annual Filing Season Program requirement. These qualifications need different levels of study, tests, and continual education.
3. Inquire about e-filing.
Taxpayers should check with their IRS agent to see whether they provide IRS e-file. The fastest option for taxpayers to get their refund is to file their federal tax return electronically and use direct deposit.
Competent tax preparers will want to view a taxpayer’s documents and receipts. They’ll ask you questions to figure out your total income, tax deductions, and credits, among other things.
4. Confirm that they will sign the contract
According to the law, IRS agents should sign their customers’ returns and submit their PTINs. Never sign a blank tax return because the preparer might scribble whatever they want on it, even their bank account number, to save yourself from stealing.
When you’ve settled on a preparer to utilize, make sure you avoid anyone who might be dishonest or cause you trouble.
Suspicious activity can be in a variety of ways:
- Charging you based on the size of your tax refund is against the rule of ethics that tax preparers must follow.
- Offering to cash your refund checks can result in fines for preparers, and even offering to handle refund checks is a red flag.
- Preparing returns without requesting documentation is evident, and signing off on a return without viewing documentation is prohibited.
- Guarantee reimbursements or, at the very least, no tax liabilities without regard to your specific circumstances.
If you have doubts, contact the Better Business Bureau to see if an agent has been the subject of any complaints. Check the relevant state board of accountancy for complaints against CPAs and the state bar association for attorneys.
Find a certified IRS agent in your area using this three-step approach.
- Make a list of possible tax accountants and CPAs.
- Refine your choices.
- Interview with a potential IRS tax consultant.
Bonus Tip: Take a look around your area.
Consider going outside of your geographic region if you can’t locate a tax preparer or IRS tax consultant with whom you feel comfortable working.
Yes, you should interview your IRS Agent!
You don’t want to entrust your personal information to someone you haven’t met, so make an appointment with the expert to discuss your case and ask questions before your first formal visit, even if it means doing so over the phone. Request references from everyone you’re considering employing, then follow up with those references to confirm their statements.
Questions to Consider while interviewing your future agent
Asking the correct questions might help you identify someone knowledgeable and reliable. The following are some places to look into:
- What certifications or licenses do you hold?
- How long do you think it will take you to finish my tax return?
- How much do you charge?
- Do they have any wiggle room? Is it possible to get that in writing?
- What is your policy on privacy?
- Do you think I’m paying too much, too little, or exactly right when it comes to taxes?
Asking is the right question is a way to find a right IRS tax consultant.
Some Last-Minute Precautions
After your initial interview, do a brief background check. You may also do a social media search for the professional’s name. Find out what people are saying about them on their website and read reviews.
To verify the status of a CPA’s license or to see if the accountant has ever faced any disciplinary action, contact your state’s board of accountancy.
To see if an EA has ever got suspected, contact the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility. Contact your local chamber of commerce for further information.
Remember that the correctness of the information on your tax return is ultimately your responsibility, not the accountants.
Remember that you are ultimately accountable for the contents of your tax return, regardless of who prepares it.
Keep the following things in mind:
- Never sign a tax return without double-checking its accuracy. If you have any questions, ask the preparer to clarify them for you. You’re stating under penalty of perjury that your return reflects all records when you sign it, whether with a pen or electronically.
- Take the time to engage a competent tax professional and thoroughly analyze their work to assist your concerns during tax season. Remember that you are ultimately accountable for the contents of your tax return, regardless of who prepares it. Never sign a tax return without double-checking its accuracy.
- Gather all of the material you’ll need and develop a list of your questions before your meeting to make the most of your preparer’s time and limit your charge to a minimum.
- If you worked with a preparer and your return is ready to file, double-check that the preparer’s PTIN and other details are on it and that you get a copy for your records.
Take the time to engage a competent tax professional and thoroughly analyze their work.