On Your Side: Finding a tax preparer

By: Jeff Anderson Email
By: Jeff Anderson Email

News 12 at 6, January 19, 2009

AUGUSTA--Receipts and documents are being gathered and W-2's are in the mail, yep, it is tax time.

Many of you may hire someone to do your taxes, but you'll want to be careful with who you hire.

You do want to be careful with who you let do your taxes. Because if they screw up, the government's not coming after them. It'll be coming after you.

A couple of years ago, James Rolle says he was taken advantage of by his tax preparer.

"He didn't include the different deductions I should have had." he said.

The whole process took more than 3 months. And James was starting to get notices from the government.

"As a result of him taking so long, I did get a few letters in the mail from the IRS." James said.

Besides things taking too long, James says the taxes were filed incorrectly and that meant he was going to have to pay up. So he reached out for help.

"He would have owed 40 to 50 thousand dollars plus penalties and interest." That's how much Consumer Advocate Mike Samadi said James would have owed if he didn't get help.

After Mike stepped in, James barely owed anything.

Mike says there are some ways to help protect yourself.

Get educated on taxes. You don't have to know them like the back of your hand, but having a little education will go a long way to keep you from being taken advantage of.

Before your taxes are officially filed. Check the return. Ask questions if you don't understand something.

As for picking a preparer, get a recommendation, check with the BBB or look for someone that's been in business for a while.

"It's up to you in the long run, because if it's wrong, the IRS will call on you and you alone." Mike said.

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