PARSIPPANY, N.J., Jan. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Approximately 60 percent of taxpayers will opt to use paid, professional tax preparers to file their 2011 income tax returns. With 75 percent of all taxpayers receiving a refund, finding the right tax professional can help you claim all of the deductions and credits for which you are eligible, so that you receive the best outcome possible. While the task of finding the right preparer may seem daunting, it does not have to be. The key is knowing what to look for and asking the right questions.
"Taxpayers are responsible for what is reported on their tax returns, so it is important to choose an individual that is qualified, knowledgeable and has your best interest in mind," said Mark Steber, chief tax officer, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. "Many consumers also prefer to work with someone from their community who understands their concerns and needs. Finding a neighborhood tax preparer is often a good move in getting convenient, one-on-one attention and getting the most out of a tax return."
When choosing a paid tax preparer, Steber offers the following tips:
- Plan ahead — You will need some time to find a tax preparer that best meets your tax needs, so start your research as soon as possible. Ensuring that your tax preparer is up to date on tax codes and tax law changes is also important. The sooner you find the right tax preparer and file, the sooner you'll get your refund if you are owed one.
- Check the preparer's history — Preparers with a questionable history may get you in trouble with the IRS. You can conduct your own research through various sources such as the Better Business Bureau and state boards of accountancy for certified public accountants for any indications of past questionable behavior by tax preparer. Ask your friends, family or co-workers for references. If they had a negative or positive experience with a tax preparer, they'll likely tell you.
- Ask for credentials — New regulations require that all paid tax preparers have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) before preparing any 2011 federal tax returns.
- Avoid preparers who ask you to sign a blank return — It is crucial that you review your tax return completely and ask questions before you sign it. Make sure you understand and are comfortable with what is being reported to the IRS. Check for inaccuracies, such as an incorrect social security number, that can delay IRS processing of your return. Also, make sure your preparer signs your tax return and includes their PTIN.
- Use tax preparers who e-file — Electronically filing a return ("e-file") is fast, accurate and offers confirmation that the IRS has received your return. Jackson Hewitt e-files tax returns for free with a paid tax return.
"Not only can working with a paid preparer provide you with a better understanding of taxes when filing a 2011 return, it can also put you in a good place for upcoming tax years," added Steber. "For example, as of now, taxes will likely rise for everyone in 2013, unless some significant changes happen. Choosing a tax preparer you like this year will help him or her get to know you better and assist you with questions as the tax code becomes more complex."
To find a qualified Jackson Hewitt tax professional near you, visit http://www.jacksonhewitt.com or call 1-800-234-1040.
About Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc.
Based in Parsippany, NJ, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. is an industry-leading provider of full service individual federal and state income tax preparation, with nearly 6,500 franchised and company-owned locations throughout the United States, including 2,800 located in Walmart stores nationwide. Jackson Hewitt Tax Service® also offers an online tax preparation product at www.jacksonhewittonline.com. For more information, or to locate your neighborhood Jackson Hewitt® office, visit www.jacksonhewitt.com or call 1-800-234-1040. Jackson Hewitt can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.
David G. Weselcouch
Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc.
CooperKatz & Company
SOURCE Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc.