In time for tax season, the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA), in partnership with the Accounting Aid Society (AAS) and Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting, are once again distributing their tax season-specific brochure entitled “Top 10 Questions to Ask a Tax Preparer: Tips, Hints & Warning Signs.
Ten questions pulled from the brochure:
1. How do you charge your fee and how much will it cost? (Reasonable fees vary, but the cost to prepare your return should not be based on the amount of your refund.)
2. How long have you been preparing tax returns?
3. Are you open and available year-round? (Preparers should be available year-round to help you as needed.)
4. Will I be receiving my refund directly (i.e. through the mail or direct deposit)? (Refunds should come to you directly, and direct deposit is the fastest and safest way to get your refund.)
5. If the Michigan Department of Treasury or IRS contacts me regarding my return, will you be able to assist me? (The answer should be yes because you must respond if this happens.)
6. Will you provide me with a copy of my completed tax return and return any original documents I provided? (Yes.)
7. Will you be signing the tax return as a preparer? (Yes.) May I see proof of your PTIN? (All signing preparers are required to have a PTIN)
*8. Are you affiliated with a professional organization?
*9. Do you have a professional license, credential or training? If so, may I see proof including current status?
*10. How do you learn about new tax laws? (The best answer is through continuing education.)
The driving force to create the brochure came from the increase in fraudulent and improper tax return preparation affecting those people who are largely underserved, including the low-income, elderly and immigrant populations. The brochure is designed as a guide to assist all taxpayers in finding the right professionals to help them with proper tax preparation.
“We cannot overlook those most at risk of not receiving the proper counseling on personal tax issues,” said Peggy Dzierzawski, CEO of the MACPA. “Especially with new tax rules, we want to make sure that everyone is receiving the education they need to navigate through the tax season.”
The Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants is a diversified, professional, member-driven organization serving nearly 18,000 CPAs and affiliated professionals throughout Michigan. Visit MACPA’s web site at www.michcpa.org.