1997 Tax Help Archives  

How To Choose A Tax Preparer

This is archived information that pertains only to the 1997 Tax Year. If you
are looking for information for the current tax year, go to the Tax Prep Help Area.

If you pay someone to prepare your tax return, choose that preparer carefully. A person who prepares tax returns for others should have a good understanding of all tax matters. You may want to check with friends, co-workers, or your employer for help in selecting a reputable preparer. Choose a preparer whom you can contact later in case your return is examined by IRS and you have questions concerning how your return was prepared.

Beware of anyone who guarantees a refund before getting financial information from you or who claims to have a special relationship with the IRS.

A paid preparer is required by law to sign the return and fill in the area of the form provided for preparers. Although the preparer signs the return, you are the person responsible for the accuracy of every item entered on your return.

You should review the completed return before you sign it to be sure that the tax information, your name, address, and social security number(s) are correct. In addition, the preparer must give you a copy of the return. Never sign a blank return, and never sign in pencil! Your preparer should not sign your return if he/she does not charge you a fee.

If you have provided specific authorization in a power of attorney filed with IRS, you may have copies of notices or your refund check mailed to your preparer or representative, but only you can sign and cash your refund check. For further information on Power of Attorney, refer to Topic 310.

Remember, even if your return is prepared by someone else, you are the person who signs it and you are responsible for all the information on your return.

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