Choosing a Tax Preparer
With the tax season opening Jan. 31, many Hoosiers are asking questions about how to choose a tax preparer. Letting someone else do your taxes means you are exposing your personal information to someone you might not know. That is why it is important to make sure you find someone you can trust.
Here are some helpful tips on how to best choose a tax preparer:
- Learn how much they will charge you before your return is prepared.
- Avoid preparers who base their fees on a percentage of the amount of your refund, or who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers.
- Only use a tax professional who provides you a copy of your return to keep for your records.
- Never use a tax preparer who asks you to sign a blank tax form.
- Choose a tax preparer who will be around to answer questions after the return has been filed.
- Ask questions. See if the tax preparer belongs to a professional organization(s).
- Before you sign your tax return, or authorize it to be filed electronically, carefully review the return. You are still held responsible for what is being submitted no matter who prepares your taxes.
More information about choosing professional tax preparers is available at www.in.gov/dor/4618.htm.
Starting Jan. 31, the Department of Revenue will again offer qualified taxpayers a free filing service called Indiana freefile (INfreefile) to file both their federal AND state taxes online. Last year, more than 118,000 taxpayers used INfreefile to file their Indiana taxes. However, nearly 1 million Hoosier taxpayers qualify to file taxes for free through INfreefile, due to criteria such as having an Adjusted Gross Income of $58,000 or less.
Taxpayers can visit www.freefile.dor.in.gov to see if they qualify for INfreefile based on the the six approved vendors’ options.
Before filing your taxes, be sure you have ALL of your W-2s, 1099s and tax statements. If you don’t have all your documents—wait. Do not try to file using your last paystub. Electronic filing programs, tax preparation software, and paid preparers must have your W-2 to file. Additionally, if you mail in your return to the department with a paystub your return will be put on hold.
It is better that you wait a few more days and file a correct return than to file an incorrect return and risked being billed and penalized later.
For more information about this year’s tax season, please visit www.in.gov/dor.