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Essential Information for Safe and Smooth Tax Filing & Preparation

February 14, 2013

The IRS knows that filing taxes is not simple. That is why it offers free tax preparation to taxpayers who are 60 years of age or older in various tax centers across the U.S. Taxpayers who cannot afford to hire a tax preparer can use the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs to get professional help in preparing and filing their 2012 tax returns.

These programs are targeted to benefit households with annual income levels below $51,000. These sites have IRS certified tax professionals, and run with the help of local organizations. To assist taxpayers in correctly filing their taxes, the IRS has offered various types of free tax help.

Legitimate Tax Preparers Have a PTIN

Tax preparation is complex, and taxpayers have various complaints about tax filing, such as problems with e-filing, understanding tax credits, etc. Due to the complexity of preparing taxes, most taxpayers use the services of tax preparers. When hiring help from tax preparers, taxpayers should check their tax preparer PTIN (Personal Tax Identification Number) on the tax return before filing. All paid tax preparers must have a PTIN, which is a unique identification number granted by the IRS.

Staying Protected from Fraudulent Tax Preparers

Fraudulent tax preparers rely on the carelessness of taxpayers in order to dupe them. Taxpayers must check their tax return before their tax preparer submits it. Avoiding the temptations of large refunds that fraudulent tax preparers promise, along with conducting a little research regarding the background and qualifications of a tax preparer, can help taxpayers file their tax returns safely.

“Most tax professionals provide quality service,” said Dana Badgerow, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota. “Still, we have seen cases where businesses have closed suddenly or stopped communicating with their clients. It’s important to check out company track records and feel comfortable with the tax preparer you choose.”

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