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5 Signs You Need a New Tax Preparer

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With tax season winding down, most people have already had their appointments with their tax preparers. It’s time to reflect on that experience and decide if you need to find new help for next year. Not all signs of a bad tax preparer are obvious, so don’t feel bad if you recognize one or more of these signs.

Your tax specialist promises a big refund.

If your tax person is promising you a large return before they’ve even seen your tax documents, that’s a pretty good sign that they are up to no good. While a lot of people may be tempted to go with whoever promises the largest return, when done correctly you should get the same amount back no matter who you go with.

Your preparer lacks credentials.

To help consumers recognize if their preparer had the proper credentials, the IRS started issuing preparer tax identification numbers or PTINs for short. If your specialist can’t provide this number, you’re working with someone who is unlicensed.

Your refund us going somewhere other than to you.

This may seem like an obvious red flag, but if your return is going somewhere other than directly to you, you probably have a problem. Your refund should be deposited into your bank account or put into a check made out to you. If it’s going into a bank account without your name on it or if the check is being made out to a company or individual that isn’t you, you have no guarantee that your refund will ever find its way to your hands. Don’t fall for this trick; insist that your refund is sent to you.

The preparation fee depends on your refund amount.

A reputable tax specialist will charge a flat rate depending on the forms you need filled out, not the size of your refund. If the preparer makes more money on a larger refund, they may have an incentive to falsify information that can leave you vulnerable for an audit. It’s better to go with a reputable company that charges a flat rate and provides accurate filings.

They aren’t listed with the BBB.

When you’re doing business that involves providing a large amount of personal information, it’s a good idea to check that the person you’re working with is listed with the Better Business Bureau. This helps eliminate the odds of mishandling of your information and it gives you an ally in case something goes wrong along the way.

Most tax preparers are ethical and run a clean business, but the ones that aren’t can make a mess of your financial life. Do your homework and find a preparer that works by the book and that you’re comfortable with. After all, your taxes are more than just money; it’s a full record of your financial life for the previous year. Protect it by doing business with someone you can trust.


Our leadership at MBS Accountancy is representative of our capabilities. Client satisfaction is our number goal. If you have had an encounter with any of these red flags, give us a call so we can help sort your finances and get you headed down the right path.

Originally posted and shared from:, by Edwin C, April 4, 2013