POSTED: Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 8:23am
UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 10:59pm
The IRS says more than 60 percent of Americans pay someone to do their taxes, but many taxpayers know nothing about the preparers they choose.
That's a disadvantage if something goes wrong because mistakes will cost you, not them.
"The IRS really doesn't care. They're going to come to you as the taxpayer. You have the ultimate responsibility for the accuracy of your return," says accountant Don Jordan.
Next year, the IRS will require preparers if individual tax returns to register with the government and pass a test to prove their competence. But in the meantime, according to Jordan, you should always check a preparers qualifications.
He says, "If they're not a CPA. If they're into an enrolled agent. If they're not an attorney. I would ask a few questions to get a level of confidence as to how many years have you been doing this and what is your experience level? Have you had any communication with the IRS regarding your preparer capability?"
The IRS suggests you check the Better Business Bureau for any disciplinary actions or questionable history and avoid those who base their fees on a percentage of the refund.
"The main thing is ask questions. If you get an uncomfortable feeling, you should go somewhere else," says Jordan.