IRS Reminds Taxpayers to Choose Preparers Wisely (IR-2017-211)


The IRS has reminded taxpayers that it can help you find a qualified tax professional. The IRS maintains a Directory of federal tax return preparers who have credentials (attorneys, CPAs, EAs) and others who have specific qualifications. The Directory is available on the IRS website. It is important to carefully select a return preparer because no matter who prepares a federal tax return, the taxpayer is legally responsible for the accuracy of all information on the return.

Also, the IRS urges taxpayers to avoid fly-by-night preparers who may not be available after the due date or base fees on a percentage of the refund. All paid preparers must sign the return and include their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).

In addition, IRS Free File lets taxpayers with income less than $66,000 prepare and e-file a return for free. Moreover, taxpayers who earned more than $66,000 would be still eligible for Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms.

Further, IRS-certified volunteers provide free tax return preparation nationwide to taxpayers who generally earn less than a certain threshold, people with disabilities, the elderly and limited English-speaking individuals through the Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (VITA and TCE) programs.

Finally, the IRS will not issue refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit before mid-February. This rule became effective in 2017. The delay helps ensure that taxpayers get the refunds they are owed by giving the IRS more time to help detect and prevent fraud.

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