On Your Side: 4 Tips to hire the best tax preparer

The IRS is now accepting your 2019 returns. It's officially tax season.

Source: www.efile.com / CC BY-SA 2.0 / MGN

It's recommended to hire a tax preparer if you recently had big life changes. New job, new spouse, new house, had a baby, those are just a few examples.

1. Ask for credentials

They must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number. Look for credentials like certified public accountant, licensed tax attorney, enrolled agent or that they completed the IRS' Annual Filing Season program.

2. Easy to reach

"There are some tax preparers that move into store fronts and they're there during tax season and then they close down after April 15th. As we know the IRS sends letters out asking questions and clarifications about your tax return after April 15th. So if you can't reach someone after that date it's going to be a very stressful event," said Tiffany Cossey, Professor of Accounting at Drury University.

3. Use caution with 'get your refund today' offers.

"They charge you a premium so you can get your refund today but you won't leave with all of it," she said. It's like a small loan.

4. Always ask for a quote.

Expect to pay anywhere from $100-$200. It just depends on your situation. Some tax pros will wait until you get your refund for payment.
That is, if you are entitled to a refund.