Posts Tagged ‘tax preparer’

There are no shortage of tax preparers in this country. Most are very good. Some are very, very bad. As a student of the law with twenty years of preparation experience, I’ve developed a discriminating eye, allowing me to easily differentiate between the two ends of the spectrum.

For many of you, however, separating the solid tax pro from the scam artist may prove a touch more difficult. That’s why I’m going to lay out some basic warning signs:

  • If a preparer guarantees they can get you a refund before you’ve given them your tax information, be afraid.
  • If a preparer guarantees you the exact amount of the refund they can get you after seeing only your W-2, be very afraid.
  • If a preparer requires you to pay a fixed percentage of your projected refund over to them as their fee, walk away; and
  • If a preparer plans to generate your refund by offsetting your wages with a substantial business loss — and you, you know…don’t actually own a business, for the love of God, run away.

Continue reading on, Forbes.com

Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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Kelly Erb over at Forbes has a list of eleven things your tax preparer does not want to hear from you this month. It’s damn near perfect, though I would add to the list the following:

Any sentence that begins with, “But a guy at the gym told me that he is able to deduct…”

Last time I checked, your buddy from the gym doesn’t have a fancy associate’s degree in accounting concepts from West Alabama Community College like I do, so perhaps you’re better served leaving the quad-blasting advice to Brett, and the tax advice to me.  

“I feel like my refund should be bigger this year.”

Really? That’s great. I feel like eating an omelet made from endangered condor eggs, but that doesn’t mean either of us are going to get what we want. Your refund is nothing more than a mathematical consequence generated solely by your input. Provided we have all your information, your refund is what it is.

“I need to extend my return, but I can’t pay any balance due by April 17th. Can I extend anyway?”

Sure you can. Of course, you can also drive a car with your feet, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. In general, taxpayers are only granted a six-month extension to file their returns, not to pay the tax due. So if you fail to pay the balance due by April 17th, you may well face penalties and interest when you file your extended return. Though there is a break in 2011 for taxpayers who have been unemployed in 2011 or 2012.

If you’ve got any contributions of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments.

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