How to choose a tax preparer

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  If you are letting someone prepare and file your taxes, what should you look for, and who should you trust?

IRS Spokesperson Mark Green said, "Choose someone who is credible, knowledgeable and most importantly, accountable."

The IRS has recently launched new guidelines for preparers. First, all paid preparers have to register with the IRS and get a new or renewed Preparer Tax Identification Number or P-TIN.

"It's not a tracking system per say, but it is a form of accountability with the IRS," Green explained.

Starting in mid 2011, certain paid tax preparers will have to pass a competency test and take 15 hours of continuing education courses each year.

CPA's, attorneys and enrolled agents will be exempt because their professional requirements also require testing.

And finally, the IRS will create a new designation for those who comply called a Registered Tax Return Preparer. It's a standard consumers will be able to look for so they're a little more confident about just who's preparing their taxes.

When you visit a tax preparer, check their credentials. Experts say look for certifications on the wall. Also, find out if they are an enrolled agent, CPA or maybe an attorney.

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