Choosing the right tax preparer; ask for a PTIN - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Choosing the right tax preparer; ask for a PTIN

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

The 2012 tax season is here, but the IRS is sending a warning to all taxpayers as it tries to combat a trend that's sweeping the state of Georgia. IRS spokesman Mark Green calls them, "unscrupulous taxpayers".

Green recommends all taxpayers to choose wisely, "unfortunately, we've had reports and we see a trend of tax preparers that set up shop during the tax season and with the large number of identity thefts, we definitely want to cautious taxpayers to be very careful."

There are four simple tips to consider when selecting a tax professional. Green said make sure they are, creditable, knowledgeable, and accountable and has an IRS issued PTIN. " Preparer  Tax Identification Number -- it is very important the individual has that, in addition make sure he or she signs the tax return," explained Green.

Tax Preparers like H&R Block are happy to see the crackdown.  Manager Sonja Giles said, "The IRS is taking steps to ensure the tax professionals are ethical and above board and they have the education to take care of your returns, with the IRS you must have at least 15 hours of continuing education."

After you've completed the first step in selecting the right preparer, don't forget to cash in on the Earned Income Tax Credit. "The credit itself can be as much as $5,571 if you have three or more children...you can still qualify for the credit even if you don't have children." This credit is for working families or individuals who make less than $49,000 a year.

Remember, you can also file your taxes electronically through the IRS using, "Free File". Taxpayers must earn less than $57,000 a year to qualify for the free service. Green said last year 3.5 million Americans took advantage of "Free File."

The IRS will not begin accepting tax returns until January 17.

Click on the link below to see if you qualify for EITC: 


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