Do you have the right (or wrong) tax preparer?

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Recently, the government agencies at the federal and state levels have moved to shut down dozens of franchise locations of Liberty Tax Service in multiple states. These include franchises in at least four states in 2015 and 2016: Illinois, Michigan, Maryland, and South Carolina. According to Forbes Magazine, Liberty Tax Service has about 4000 locations throughout the US, with almost 95% owned by franchisees.  Liberty’s head lawyer, Jim Wheaten, says there is no “systemic problem” for the company’s 4000 locations throughout the country.  Wheaten points out that when compared to the thousands of franchises that exist, the number shut down for alleged wrongdoing is pretty small.  If you plan to use a tax preparer this year, you’ll need to decide for yourself if you trust them.

Fraud allegations like these highlight the need for you as a taxpayer to remember that you are responsible for finding a quality preparer. Tax season is already a stressful time for most families, and you wouldn’t want to add to that stress by using a tax preparer that isn’t doing the job properly. You can help yourself avoid falling prey to a tax scam by avoiding the IRS “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for 2016.

Clearly, it pays to be careful when choosing your tax help. The IRS has provided a good guide for choosing your tax preparer. Before you hire someone this year, you should take the time to read the IRS guide.  Better to look before you leap.  That way, you won’t get roped into working with someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

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