The Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants has put out the Top 10 questions you should ask a tax preparer before hiring one. These questions can help make sure that you receive professional and effective assistance. They are:
- How do you charge your fee and how much will it cost? (Reasonable fees vary, but the cost to prepare your return should not be based on the amount of your refund.)
- How long have you been preparing tax returns?
- Are you open and available year-round? (Preparers should be available year-round to help you as needed.)
- Will I be receiving my refund directly (i.e. through the mail or direct deposit)? (Refunds should come to you directly, and direct deposit is the fastest and safest way to get your refund.)
- If the Michigan Department of Treasury or IRS contacts me regarding my return, will you be able to assist me? (The answer should be yes because you must respond if this happens.)
- Will you provide me with a copy of my completed tax return and return any original documents I provided? (yes)
- Will you be signing the tax return as a preparer? May I see proof of your Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)? (All signing preparers are required to have a PTIN)
- Are you affiliated with a professional organization?
- Do you have a professional license, credential or training? If so, may I see proof including current status?
- How do you learn about new tax laws? (The best answer is through continuing education.)
Also, free Taxpayer Guides are now available courtesy of Rep. Jim Townsend to assist you in filling out your Michigan taxes. The guide includes information about filing your income taxes and the various tax credits that are available. It also includes 2011 state tax forms.
Michigan Taxpayer’s Guides are available at city halls, senior centers, and public libraries throughout Royal Oak and Madison Heights. You can also contact Townsend's office at (517) 373-3818 to request a guide and it will be mailed to you.
Source: Rep. Jim Townsend