Tuesday Tax Tips 2/5/13

Tax preparation commercials are all over television, radio and billboards. Even if you've filed your own tax return in the past, the passage of the late-breaking American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 means you'll want to talk to a licensed tax professional to see how tax law changes may impact your situation this year. But it's important to talk to the right person.

You want someone who understands your tax situation, including all the tax deductions and credits available to you. The IRS will not review your tax returns for missing credits or deductions.  The IRS only makes adjustments if you leave income off your return.

Here are five tips to choose the right Tax Professional for you:

Start looking now -- Start looking now for a licensed tax professional will save you hassle and time.  The licensed Tax Professional needs to be well-versed in all of the recent tax law changes and tax codes. The sooner you find the right professional, the sooner you can start the filing process and ultimately get your refund, if you're owed one.

Check the preparer's qualifications -- Make sure your preparer is qualified.  State of IN and IL do not required Tax Preparers to be Licensed and per IRS over 60% of tax preparers do not have any license credentials.  These unlicensed tax preparers make mistakes and you are the one who has to pay the additional tax, penalty and interest to IRS.  Just because they work in a nice store front or they have purchased a software package does not mean they are qualified licensed tax professionals.  There are three types of licensing - CPA, they are licensed by the state board of accountancy, Enrolled Agents, licensed by US Dept. of Treasury -the  IRS call them the "Elite" Tax Professionals and Registered Tax Preparers, licensed by IRS for minimal competency (a very basic, very simple open book test). 

Check the preparer's history -- Check your preparer's history by conducting your own research through various sources Enrolled Agent www.inea.biz or CPA society http://www.incpas.org.  Ask friends, family or co-workers for references.

Never sign a blank return -- It's important to review your tax return completely and ask questions before signing it. You are ultimately responsible for what is reported on your tax return. Make sure the preparer signs your tax return and includes their PTIN number.

Use tax preparers who e-file - Over 80% of Americans electronically file (e-file) their tax returns. E-filing is safer than filing a paper return, offers faster processing time, greater accuracy and confirmation the IRS has received your return. Some tax preparers offer free e-filing. Make sure yours does.

Selecting a tax preparer is a very important decision, after all, for most Americans the annual income tax return is the single largest financial transaction they have each and every year. Pick someone you trust that is licensed such as EA or CPA they have the skills and experience to help you get the biggest refund you deserve -- this year and for years to come.

At Stadler & Company we appreciate your business and strive hard to ensure that we keep you informed on tax policy that affects you. As always, don't hesitate to call, email or stop by if you have any questions.  Be sure to hire America's Tax Experts - Enrolled Agents.

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