No one enjoys tax time. With the constantly evolving tax laws for state and federal tax returns, American taxpayers are opting for a professional tax preparer rather than tackling a return solo. Not just anyone can prepare taxes, especially with the changes recently made by the Internal Revenue Service. According to the IRS, only certified public accountants, enrolled IRS agents and attorneys can operate as a tax preparer on behalf of a taxpayer. In addition to the right background, tax preparers must also pass the Tax Return Preparer Competency Exam through the IRS.
Determine Tax Liability
A lot goes into determining your tax liability. Rather than hunch over a calculator and figure out deductions, credits, income and adjustments yourself, your tax preparer will handle it for you. Your tax preparer will use a machine or personal computer to determine if you overpaid or underpaid your taxes throughout the year and reference corresponding IRS and state tax forms to determine your overall tax liability.
Prepare and File Tax Returns
The main job of a tax preparer is to prepare, sign and file tax returns on your behalf. After calculating your tax numbers, your preparer creates a return for you. It is your responsibility to provide your preparer with the necessary documentation for an accurate return. These documents include W-2s, 1099s, credit forms and other tax-related receipts and documents.
The tax codes are constantly changing. That is why tax preparers constantly research and review new tax laws during each filing year and familiarize themselves with any changes. Tax preparers also research available credits and how they are applied, as well as eligibility, and they ensure that they file each client’s return accurately. Tax preparers also review tax law books and stay up to date on IRS bulletins to ensure that both simple and atypical tax returns are correct.
Tax preparers often work as full-time accountants or attorneys and prepare taxes only during tax season from the middle of January to April 15. Repeat customers are important for tax preparers, especially if the tax preparers plan to encourage clients to use their other off-season services. That is why it is imperative that a tax preparer advise clients about their taxes and offer friendly, flexible and dependable services that meet their needs. Tax preparers must also be professional, supportive and have good communication skills.
Shailynn Krow began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous online and offline publications. Krow holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an Associate of Science in pastry arts from the International Culinary Institute of America.