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Avoid Tax Penalties with a Professional Tax Preparer

Avoid Tax Penalties with a Professional Tax Preparer
by Kristi Shibata

For most Americans, April means one thing: tax season. In fact, the thought of filing a year's worth of taxes can be intimidating and overwhelming. According to the Better Business Bureau, more than half of the 120 million American taxpayers seek the help of a tax preparer every year. There are many reasons people choose to seek professional help. Whichever reason, most just want to make sure they will avoid run-in with the IRS and not receive any tax penalties.

When to Turn To Professionals to Settle Tax Debt
If you find that you have a complex filing or you need to settle tax debt based on what you owe, you can seek the assistance of a professional preparer such as a tax attorney. Tax attorneys have received extensive training and have completed continuing education courses. Tax attorneys can help double check tax return documents to assure and help to prepare all documents to prove that your deductions are legitimate. They can also help to avoid tax penalties and can settle tax debt through such avenues as an offer in compromise. Most importantly, tax attorneys can represent you against the IRS should a dispute arise with your filings.

Tax attorneys specialize, according to their training. Specialties include estate planning, business tax, income tax and business ownership. So, it is best to make sure you have selected an appropriate attorney.

Choosing a Tax Attorney Can Save You from Tax Penalties

With many Americans seeking professional tax help, you should start your search for an attorney sooner rather than later. Some key factors to consider to get started:

  • Ensure your tax preparer is a licensed professional.
  • Get recommendations from people they know and professional references. Check their references and check their appropriate monitoring organization.
  • Select someone who is available to assist you in the future should you have correspondence with the IRS.
  • Avoid preparers who guarantee that they can obtain a larger refund.
  • Ask who will be filing your return. You do not want to work with a company who passes around your tax documents.
  • Ask about their experience in the area in which you need help. Ask if they have extensive experience with offers in compromise, in which a settlement is made with the IRS to make a payment that is less than your actual return.

 

Just remember to review and double check all the numbers before you sign your return. You, the taxpayer, are ultimately held responsible for any information submitted to the IRS--whether a professional prepared it or not. Shop around a find a qualified preparer so you do not pay for the mistakes later.

Sources
Better Business Bureau
Contra Costa Times
State of California Franchise Tax Board
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