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IRS Provides Tips for Choosing Return Preparers

IRS Provides Tips for Choosing Return Preparers

Posted on January 28th, 2016

In its third in a series of weekly tax preparedness releases, the IRS has encouraged taxpayers to carefully

choose a return preparer before the next filing season. The IRS reminded taxpayers that choosing a return

preparer now will give them more time to consider options before the start of the 2016 filing season.

The tips offered by the IRS when choosing return preparers include: (1) selecting an ethical preparer; (2) asking

about service fees and avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the refund; (3) using preparers

with a current preparer tax identification number (PTIN); (4) researching the preparer’s history to check for any

questionable history; (5) asking preparers if they offer e-file; (6) giving the preparers records and receipts and

make sure to provide Form W-2 instead of the final pay stub; (7) making sure preparers are available to be

contacted after the filing due date; (8) reviewing the return before signing; (9) never signing a blank return; and

(10) making sure the preparer signs the return and includes his or her PTIN, and also gives the taxpayer a copy

of the return.

The IRS has launched a public directory of federal tax return preparers to help taxpayers verify the qualifications

of tax professionals. The online directory is a searchable, sortable database with the name, city, state and

zip code of return preparers, including those who have completed the requirements for the IRS Annual Filing

Season Program (AFSP). Any tax professional with an IRS PTIN is authorized to prepare federal tax returns,

however, an important difference in the types of practitioners is “representation rights.”

While enrolled agents, certified public accountants and attorneys have unlimited representation rights before the

IRS, preparers without one of these credentials, also known as unenrolled preparers, have limited practice rights,

the IRS explained. Effective for tax returns and claims for refunds prepared and signed after December 31, 2015,

the limited right to represent clients before the IRS held by noncredentialed preparers will be accorded to only

those preparers participating in the AFSP (IR-2015-123; TAXDAY, 2015/10/30, I.1)

Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications –


Dear Clients, Business Associates and Friends,

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to affect local communities and global economies, you may have concerns about your financial well-being as well as your business and employees. Or you may be wondering about how recently passed legislation impacts you and your enterprise.

BHCB is still at work, continuing to service the needs of our clients.

Whether you have tax or financial planning questions or need advice on ways to navigate the expanded benefits, we are here for you. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at our respective offices. New Haven – 203-787-6527, Fairfield – 203-333-2228.

During this unpredictable and challenging time, it’s more important than ever to stay connected. We are in this together and our thoughts go out to all who have been impacted by this unprecedented situation.

Rest assured; we are here to help with your questions.

We have also assembled a list of resources to help individuals and businesses through this period.