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Tax preparation is a great option for anyone who doesn't want to deal with the hassle of taxes, but there are some situations where using a preparer sounds less like an option and more like a mandatory step. Jeff Rose, writing from Good Financial Cents, recommends these scenarios as times to seek out professional help:
The reason he recommends a tax preparer for these scenarios is because these situations change what applies to you as a taxpayer based on the federal tax code, which in turn affects your return.
Before entrusting your finances with someone else, you need to be assured they're legit. Here are some questions to keep in mind when choosing a tax preparer:
How the tax preparer handles these questions could also be indicative of their temperament. Don't be afraid to shop around for different tax preparers if these questions present difficulty for your preparer to answer.
Is your tax preparer set to fleece you out of your potential earnings? There are definitely signs you can pick up on. Does the tax return they promise you sound suspiciously high? Furthermore, is their pay based upon a percentage of the projected return? To help you weed out the wonks, here are some of the tips the IRS recommends to avoid fraudsters:
Be especially wary if you're an elderly or low-income taxpayer, as those are the usual targets of scammers. You can report abusive preparers using Form 14157.
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