2014 Taxes: Have You Filed Yet? IRS Offers a Few Tips

So, have you filed yet? If you have, chances are you (or your tax preparer) e-filed. As of late February, 95% of all returns in to the IRS have been e-filed.

If you haven't filed, don't despair as there is a lot of help out there to be had. Plus you have several weeks to go before mid-April. Along those lines, IRS has many helpful avenues on IRS.gov. For example:

Many people hire a professional when it’s time to file their tax return. If you pay someone to prepare your federal income tax return, the IRS urges you to choose that person wisely. Even if you don’t prepare your own return, you’re still legally responsible for what is on it.

Here are ten tips to keep in mind when choosing a tax preparer:

  1. Check the preparer’s qualifications.  All paid tax preparers are required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number or PTIN. In addition to making sure they have a PTIN, ask the preparer if they belong to a professional organization and attend continuing education classes.

  2. Check the preparer’s history.  Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the preparer has a questionable history. Check for disciplinary actions and for the status of their licenses. For certified public accountants, check with the state board of accountancy. For attorneys, check with the state bar association. For enrolled agents, check with the IRS Office of Enrollment.

  3. Ask about service fees.  Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund or those who say they can get larger refunds than others can. Always make sure any refund due is sent to you or deposited into your bank account. Taxpayers should not deposit their refund into a preparer’s bank account.

  4. Ask to e-file your return.  Make sure your preparer offers IRS e-file. Any paid preparer who prepares and files more than 10 returns for clients generally must file the returns electronically. IRS has safely processed more than 1.2 billion e-filed tax returns.

  5. Make sure the preparer is available.  Make sure you’ll be able to contact the tax preparer after you file your return - even after the April 15 due date. This may be helpful in the event questions come up about your tax return.

  6. Provide records and receipts.  Good preparers will ask to see your records and receipts. They’ll ask you questions to determine your total income, deductions, tax credits and other items. Do not use a preparer who is willing to e-file your return using your last pay stub instead of your Form W-2. This is against IRS e-file rules.

  7. Never sign a blank return.  Don’t use a tax preparer that asks you to sign a blank tax form.

  8. Review your return before signing.  Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions if something is not clear. Make sure you’re comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign it.

  9.  Ensure the preparer signs and includes their PTIN.  Paid preparers must sign returns and include their PTIN as required by law. The preparer must also give you a copy of the return.

  10. Report abusive tax preparers to the IRS.  You can report abusive tax preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS. Use Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If you suspect a return preparer filed or changed the return without your consent, you should also file Form 14157-A, Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit. You can get these forms at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Additional IRS Resources:

IRS YouTube Videos:

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Alek J Hidell February 25, 2014 at 10:22 AM
A true American pays as little tax as he possibly can to our tyrants in the District. Starve the snakehead and its body will die. We need to have a property tax boycott as well. Our military is much more threatened by a tax revolt than an armed one.
DB February 25, 2014 at 10:45 AM
Alek..you should be happy...CNN reporting that our Army is at it's lowest level since BEFORE WW II.........http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2014/02/24/nr-starr-pentagon-smallest-army-since-wwii.cnn.html.
Alek J Hidell February 25, 2014 at 11:36 AM
Just gave up trying to order tax forms by phone. remember when 1040 forms were at the library? no more. If you want tax forms then you had better have a printer. Only pdf is offered. Nobody picked up that phone for over an hour.....maybe H&R Block might have some? Don't worry, the District will get nothing from me....as they have since 1999. Drain the system; it will collapse.
SA February 25, 2014 at 12:35 PM
So the Lords henchmen are giving out advice … Do they have a cell phone and pen?


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