About a month ago, the blogs were full of tips to find a good preparer. I wrote one back in January. But I’d like to share a few ways to tell if you have a bad preparer. If any of these sound familiar, you need to find a new preparer. It may be too late for this year, but start looking for next year.
- When you tell the preparer you don’t have any dependents, they ask if you want to rent any for your tax return.
- When you went to pick up your refund check, your preparer suggests a store across town to cash your check and offers to drive you. The gun is for your protection, right?
- The preparer asks you how much refund you want this year.
- When you arrive at the office, there are security guards controlling the crowd of angry clients looking for their refund/returns.
- You look at the fee breakdown and notice one of the charges is labeled; “Because it’s Thursday.”
- The preparer’s office is a table in a BBQ restaurant.
- The preparer takes a return from a stack on their desk, fills in your name and SSN and hands it to you sign.
- The preparer has been featured on a local TV station’s “(call letters) On Your Side” segment-annually.
- The preparer asks you to stop at the local IRS office and pick up blank forms for them.
- You arrive at the office and have to knock, tell who sent you and give a password to get in.
The sad thing is that only a couple “tips” are made up. The rest are based on news reports or stories clients have told me. Most tax preparers are pros. They follow the rules and do right by their clients. It’s a small portion that you see in the news. But it’s these people who hurt some clients and defraud the rest of us.