Tax Tip of the Day: Finding Someone You Trust

Tax Tip of the Day: Finding Someone You Trust by Ekaterina Angert

It’s the beginning of February and taxes are on everyone’s minds- well, hopefully!  We all start to check the paperwork and sum up receipts.  Some of us may be frantically searching for that one missing receipt or stray piece of paper we put “somewhere safe.”  Whether you have all your documents in order or not, there is always one important piece that everyone faces in this yearly tax puzzle-

Who will do my taxes?

There are many of us who do it on their own, but the vast amount of individuals, families and companies do require the help of a professional. How do you pick the perfect tax preparer for your needs? What do you look for and where? and how?  Sure you can always Google “tax preparer near me”, but is this the wisest decision? How about recommendations of friends/family/neighbors?

A legitimate tax preparer should have at minimum a Preparer Tax ID number (PTIN) or, better yet, a CPA. If in doubt, there is a way to check the validity of those credentials online.   The link to check PTIN is :  For the CPA lookup , you can go to ://

How do you know you can trust your new tax preparer and what are some tell-tale red flags that you should find someone else?  If  you are not asked to show your previous year tax return, are asked to sign a blank form, or asked for a percentage of return as a form of compensation- you can pretty much guarantee you should run the other way.  Other red flags may be  not putting their PTIN on the return or offering to deposit your refund to a bank account that does not belong to you.

Finding the proper tax preparer can be a difficult job, but by taking just a few precautions and doing your due diligence, you can certainly find someone legitimate and trustworthy.  Good luck and happy tax season!