7On your side: Choosing tax preparer - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7 On Your Side: Choosing a tax preparer

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If you believe the old adage you get what you pay for, you may not want to take your taxes just anywhere.

The Better Business Bureau has plenty of tips for choosing a tax preparer right for you.

You can do your taxes yourself, use a computer program like Turbo Tax, use a local tax accountant or a tax preparation service.

Carmen Million with the Southwest Louisiana Better Business Bureau said do your homework to make sure you get someone reliable.

"If you choose to use a tax preparer or CPA or accountant to do your taxes, you really need to investigate before you hire someone. This is a person you are going to give all your personal financial information to, so you really need to do your homework," Million said.

Before you choose someone to do your taxes, you may want to ask them for references. Make sure you check with some satisfied clients.

"You also need to look for warning signs. If a company promises you a large refund, that's a warning sign. If the company refuses to sign the form that they completed for you, that's another warning sign. If they filled out the paperwork but don't want to sign it, then that's something to be wary of," said Million.

And, just in case you're audited, you want to find out if your tax preparer has ever represented someone who was audited or if perhaps they've been denied eligibility to do so.   

"You need to investigate and make sure that they've done this before, and you want to make sure that the company that prepares your tax form will be there for you in case you have to defend yourself, if there's an issue brought up from the IRS," Million said.

The United Way provides tax preparation services. Their volunteers must receive training. Michelle McInnis is the United Way Director for Community Initiatives."

You will not get your refund any quicker going to a paid preparer. Everybody sends it to IRS the same way. If you get direct deposit, we could have your refund in as little as seven to ten days. We do not make advance loans on your refund, therefore you get the entire refund in your bank account. We do not deduct any fees or any loan original fees or anything like that," McInnis said.

For more tips on picking a tax preparer click here.  

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