Picking a Small Business Tax Preparer and IRA Tools

Tips of picking a Small Business CPA

Here are a few points to keep in mind when someone else prepares your return. Avoid preparers who claim that they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers. If your returns are prepared correctly, every preparer should derive substantially similar numbers. Beware of a preparer who guarantees results or who bases fees on the percentage of the amount of the refund. A paid preparer is required by law to sign your return and fill in the preparer area of the return.

What is a PTIN?

The paid preparer should also include the preparer tax identification number, or PTIN, on the return. Understand that most reputable preparers will request to see your receipts and will ask you multiple questions to determine your qualifications for expenses, deductions, and other items. By doing so, they have your best interests in mind and are trying to help you avoid penalties, interest, or additional taxes that could result from an IRS audit. Review the completed return to ensure all tax information — your name, address, and Social Security number — is complete and correct. Review and ensure you understand the entries and are comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign.

Signing a prepared tax return

Never sign a blank return and never sign in pencil. Unfortunately, unscrupulous tax return preparers do exist and can cause considerable financial and legal problems for their clients. Consider whether the preparer has any questionable history by asking questions and getting references from other businesses. Report suspicious actions by tax professionals to the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility. The e-mail address is: opr@irs.gov.

IRS Tools and Information

Now let’s talk about some online learning tools available on the IRS Video Portal at www.irsvideos.gov. The portal contains numerous presentations on topics of interest to small businesses and individuals, along with the archived versions to webinars like this one.Especially helpful is Small Business Taxes: The Virtual Workshop. The workshop is composed of nine interactive lessons designed to help new small business owners learn their tax rights and responsibilities. IRS.gov is also an indispensable resource for information you’ll need to meet and comply with all of your Federal tax obligations