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BBB: 5 tips for finding a trustworthy tax professional

Surviving tax season doesn’t have to be a solo mission. There are plenty of tax professionals ready to assist leading up to the April 18 deadline to file.

Millions of Americans will ultimately lean on someone else to take care of their math and paperwork as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continued through 2021. Taxes will be especially tricky this year for families as they have to report on the monthly child-tax-credit payments and the stimulus checks they received in 2021.

The Better Business Bureau outlines the fundamental tips you should count on for finding the right tax professional:

Keep track of credentials and experience

Don’t be shy about reviewing a few resumes. The tax preparer you choose should be a certified public accountant, a tax attorney or an enrolled agent in order for them to represent you to the IRS. Do some research on their reputation within the industry, years of experience completing the return type you need to file, and their track record with customers. If their reviews are less than positive, that’s a sign to explore some other options.

Ask about fees

If you choose to use a tax preparer, their help comes with a cost. Make sure you know exactly what fees are associated with their services. Do not agree to anything until you’ve carefully read the contract and received answers to all your questions regarding charges. Fees can change or even increase depending on the type of return you are filing.

Ask about their availability

See if the preparer will be around after you’ve filed your taxes. If there are any issues with your return, will they be available to guide you through what’s next? For example, what can or will they do in case of an audit? Yes, you need help right now, but you might need more later. Find out if the tax-preparer can assist with any future needs.

Stay grounded

Some tax-preparers promise larger tax returns if you use their services. Don’t buy the hype. If you’re guaranteed a higher return or the preparer’s commission is based on how much you get back, they may be using some less-than-ethical tactics to get you that extra cash. Those tricks could end up costing you in the long run.

Utilize BBB as a resource

Look up the business on BBB’s website before hiring a tax-preparer. BBB.org has individual business profiles disclosing whether the company is BBB-accredited, its letter rating, potential consumer alerts, detailed customer complaints and information on how the business is responding to concerns. Taking that additional step will give you a better idea of the company’s reputation. If any issues arise, you can also submit a complaint to seek a resolution.

For more consumer tips, visit Trust-bbb.org.

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Roseann Freitas is BBB marketplace manager Hawai‘i, Northwest + Pacific, 900 Fort Street Mall, Ste. 1310, Honolulu, HI 96813 808-260-0643, bbb.org.
Source: The Garden Island

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