Contact Kim: Finding a reputable tax preparer

If you put your taxes in someone else's hands, make sure they're trustworthy. (Source: MGN Online)
If you put your taxes in someone else's hands, make sure they're trustworthy. (Source: MGN Online)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - For some, tax time is the most dreaded season of the year.

Just as important as making sure all your paperwork is in order is making sure you select a reputable person to prepare your return. What questions should you ask before putting your personal information in someone else's hands?

The first thing you should do is check their credentials. Michele Mason with the Better Business Bureau recommends you ensure they attend continuing education courses and stay up to date on the latest changes in tax laws.

Make sure you have a record of everything agreed upon, including all fees. "You should ask questions and get in writing every promise that they make," Mason said. "We get concerned when companies start making guarantees about refunds or how long it takes, because no one can control how long it takes the IRS to be able to process your returns."

Always check out individuals with the BBB. Mason said doing so will make sure that you know about any concerns or prior complaints in advance.

Fees will vary based on how complicated your tax situation is going to be, but it is always a good idea to shop around and – again – get those fees in writing.

"Several years ago we had a firm that was opening up several branches including our area, and we had several complaints that people were quoted a price verbally but once their return was done, they were charged much more than they were told up front," Mason said.

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