Michigan Treasury Offers Tips For Finding A Good Tax Preparer
With the tax paying season getting in to full swing, Michigan's Department of Treasury is offering up some suggestions for finding a qualified tax preparer, if you need one. Not all tax returns are as simple as going to a free online site. If you have a situation above and beyond basic, a little home work can go a long way and save some headaches.
First and foremost for finding a qualified preparer is because state law says "taxpayers are responsible for the content within their tax returns and for any additional payments, penalty and interest that may result from a tax preparer's error. While the state of Michigan does not require tax preparers to be licensed, many are licensed, certified and belong to professional organizations that require a minimum level of education and provide ongoing training," according to Dept. of Treasury.
The Department of Treasury urges you to ask questions, such as,
- What kind of formal tax training do you have?
- Do you hold any professional licenses or designations, such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Enrolled Agent (EA), Registered Accounting Practitioner (RAP), Accredited Tax Advisor (ATA) or Accredited Tax Preparer (ATP)?
- Do you take continuing professional education classes each year? How many hours do you take?
- How long have you been preparing tax returns?
- Have you ever done a tax return dealing with my situation?
- How much do you charge and how do you determine your fee?
- Are you open year-round to assist me with any problems I may have later?
- Do you offer e-filing as a service?
- Are you authorized to and will you represent me in an audit or collection matter with the IRS or the Michigan Department of Treasury should the situation come up?
- How do you stand behind your work?
- If the refund is direct deposited, is it deposited into my account or into an account owned by you or your company?
The Department of Treasury also suggest ignoring hyped claims of getting bigger refunds than competitors and preparers who take a percentage of your refund. They recommend a quick call to the Better Business Bureau.