Requiring a CPA, legal license or registered agent designation The PTIN is a basic requirement that is relatively easy to obtain, so it doesn't hurt to go one step further and look for an accredited preparer who is also a certified public accountant (CPA), licensed lawyer or registered agent (EA). First, professional certification (such as a PTIN) is required, as well as an official copy of your fingerprints. Once you have submitted your documents online and submitted your fingerprints, you will receive an electronic tax identification number (EFIN). You will then be ready to access the portal to submit your electronic applications.
Make sure that the preparer offers an electronic filing from the IRS and request the electronic filing of the tax return. Paid preparers who file taxes for more than 10 clients generally must file them electronically. A great first stop is the IRS website, which is packed with publications and instructions that will help new and experienced preparers discuss changes in the tax code, as well as frequently asked questions and other useful tips. The holder of the preparer's tax identification number (PTIN) is the lowest type of accreditation offered by the IRS.
You expect your preparer to be an expert in preparing taxes and to file your income tax return accurately. Some tax preparers will try to delay reporting the price until they have completed the tax return. Thomson Reuters UltraTax CS is a leading professional tax preparation software that automates your entire business, whether for individual tax preparation or for business customers. The Get It Back campaign helps eligible people apply for tax credits and use free tax filing assistance to maximize tax filing time.
The basic IRS requirement for all paid tax preparers is to pass the eligibility check and obtain a PTIN. The longer a preparer has been working on tax returns, the more likely it is that they have faced a tax situation similar to yours. Certified public accountants (CPAs), enrolled agents (EAs) and tax lawyers are the highest credentials a tax preparer can possess. There are many IRS designations for paid tax preparers, and ultimately, the most important factors guiding their decision are the preparer's credentials, experience, availability, and the help you can expect if the IRS asks you for more information after you file your return or if you are audited.
Make sure that your experience applies to your situation, as many preparers specialize in specific areas of tax law. Tax preparers need to access and manage their customers' sensitive information efficiently and securely. In either case, review the contract between you and your preparer before you sign it and make sure you understand exactly what the preparer will do for you if a mistake causes you to pay additional taxes. The cost of preparing your taxes can vary, but generally an EA should charge less than a CPA, according to the Better Business Bureau.