As individuals gather the documents, statements, and receipts in preparation of filing a tax return, many are looking to hire the right tax preparer and to obtain taxpayer filing assistance and preparation.

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The Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) recommends that taxpayers practice due diligence when selecting a tax preparer this tax season. Tax preparers have diverse levels of skills, education, and expertise. Choosing a tax return preparer wisely is important because taxpayers are ultimately responsible for all the information on their return, no matter who prepares it.

Here’s a short checklist to help taxpayers choose a tax preparer by asking the right questions. 

  • Inquire about the formal training the preparer has and how current it is.
  • Verify how long the preparer has been doing tax returns.
  • Check for reviews on their performance and business practices – State Board of Accountancy or State Bar Association.
  • Avoid preparers who base fees on a percentage of their client’s refund and be cautious of preparers that boast about delivering bigger refunds.
  • Select a tax preparer that is available year-round to ask questions even after tax season.
  • Direct any refund to your bank account, not the preparer’s bank account. 

Taxpayer responsibilities:

  • Obtain a copy of the entire return, including copies of all schedules, especially itemized deductions or credits.
  • Confirm you understand your return and ask to explain any deductions, credits, and wages claimed in the event of an examination by ADOR or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • Ensure numbers are correct and schedules add up to the source documents.
  • Ask the preparer to sign the return and list their preparer tax identification number (PTIN). Anyone who is paid to prepare a tax return or claim for refund must register with the IRS and get a PTIN. 

While the majority of tax preparers do have a moral compass, there are cases of those who have submitted fraudulent returns or promised larger tax refunds through unlawful methods. If the refund seems too good to be true, it probably is and you should question it. If you know of dishonest tax preparer promotions, you can report the crime through Form 14242, along with any supporting materials, or report a tax return preparer for misconduct through Form 14157

For more information on hiring a tax preparer, visit