by Jim Camp, President and CEO of Better Business Bureau serving South Carolina & Charleston
It’s that time of year again. Time to start thinking about taxes; and preparing ahead allows you to get your taxes done early and with little hassle before the April 15th deadline. If you are unsure of a tax preparer to use, ask those whom you trust such as your family and friends to see what they recommend. You can also search for a BBB Accredited Business tax return preparer in the BBB Accredited Business Directory.
Tax preparation providers should not base their fees on a percentage of your refund. Before signing up with a tax preparer, verify their credentials and make sure they have a Preparer Tax Identification Number. Also, ask about their accessibility after the time your taxes were filed and find out to reach them during this off-season. Ultimately, the taxpayer is the one responsible to the IRS for the paperwork, so it is best to ensure you use the best person possible.
Be sure to read the paperwork thoroughly. Understand how much it is going to cost for the service and how the cost may be affected if preparation is more complicated than expected. Ask if the tax preparation company will represent you if there is an audit. If you don’t understand something in the paperwork, be sure to ask for clarification.
When filing your taxes online, make sure all information is correct before submitting. Check the application for missing information or flags where other common errors occur. Be sure to sign and date the return with your self-selected personal identification number.
According to the IRS, they don’t initiate contact with you by email, text messages or social media to obtain any personal information. If you receive a phone call, letter or fax from someone who claims to be an IRS employee, but think they are not, contact the IRS. For-ward suspicious emails that claim to be the IRS and ask for personal information to email@example.com.
Finally, each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them. Know the Taxpayer Bill of Rights
If you have a question about a company or want to find an Accredited Business you can trust, visit BBB’s website at www.bbb.org or call us at (803) 254-2525 or (843) 766-9616.