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Larson & Company knows those looking for 2016 tax help may be concerned about finding a tax preparer that is credible and trustworthy before the next filing season. Recently the IRS reminded taxpayers that choosing a return preparer now will give them more time to consider options before the start of the 2016 filing season.

The 10 tips offered by the IRS when choosing return preparers include:

  1. selecting an ethical preparer;
  2. asking about service fees and avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the refund;
  3. using preparers with a current preparer tax identification number (PTIN);
  4. researching the preparer’s history to check for any questionable history;
  5. asking preparers if they offer e-file;
  6. giving the preparers records and receipts and make sure to provide Form W-2 instead of the final pay stub;
  7. making sure preparers are available to be contacted after the filing due date;
  8. reviewing the return before signing;
  9. never signing a blank return; and
  10. making sure the preparer signs the return and includes his or her PTIN, and also gives the taxpayer a copy of the return.

The IRS has launched a public directory of federal tax return preparers to help taxpayers verify the qualifications of tax professionals. The online directory is a searchable, sortable database with the name, city, state and zip code of return preparers, including those who have completed the requirements for the IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP). Any tax professional with an IRS PTIN is authorized to prepare federal tax returns, however, an important difference in the types of practitioners is “representation rights.”

While enrolled agents, certified public accountants and attorneys have unlimited representation rights before the IRS, preparers without one of these credentials, also known as unenrolled preparers, have limited practice rights, the IRS explained. Effective for tax returns and claims for refunds prepared and signed after December 31, 2015, the limited right to represent clients before the IRS held by noncredentialed preparers will be accorded to only those preparers participating in the AFSP.

Larson & Company is a full-service CPA firm offering tax services that meet all of the above suggestions. Our offices in Sandy, Spanish Fork, Moab, St. George, Utah, and Mesquite, Nevada all specialize in business and individual tax return preparation.  Contact us today to see if we can help you create a more favorable tax position for 2016.