With valuable write offs like the mileage deduction and home office deduction available, it’s not a surprise to see that over half of all taxpayers hire tax professionals to prepare their income tax returns. This week’s Tax Tip Tuesday is focused on helping you find a tax professional that fits your needs and, importantly, holds professional credentials recognized by the IRS or who holds an Annual Filing Season Program Record or Completion.
If you’re looking for a tax professional to help you prepare your return, you may want to check out the IRS’s Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers. This online directory includes the name, credential, state, and zip code of attorneys, certified public accountants, enrolled agents, and those who have completed the requirements for the voluntary IRS filing season program.
All preparers listed also have valid 2016 Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTIN)—this is an identification number that all paid tax returns must use on federal tax returns filed with the IRS. Remember, a tax professional being included in the directory does not constitute an endorsement of the person by the IRS. You can even assist in weeding out tax professionals who have acted improperly by filing a complaint with the IRS about a tax return preparer.
Also, it’s important to note that the inclusion of a person in the directory doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she will be willing to prepare your return or do so for the price you consider reasonable. So, you may want to find several names when you do your search.
The nice thing about this directory is that it’s searchable by preferred credential or by location, and it’s regularly updated. The IRS directory can also help you find a tax professional who has practiced abroad, which may make them more familiar with international tax issues.