Tax preparers have an important job that requires earning the trust of the client. It is the responsibility of a taxpayer to prepare and submit an accurate income tax return to the Internal Revenue Service. If the preparer makes a mistake, the taxpayer can incur late fees and penalties. Tax preparers must keep up to date on the continually changing tax codes, and have knowledge of both federal and state tax laws. It’s a lot to take in. We’re here to help.
Tax preparation is the process of preparing tax returns, often income tax returns. Tax preparation may be done by the taxpayer with or without the help of a tax preparation service, tax software, or online service. Tax preparation is often done by a licensed professional such as a certified public accountant (CPA, like Brian Moore), enrolled agent (EA like our tax associates), or by an unlicensed tax preparation business or individual. Because the United States income tax laws are considered to be complicated, many taxpayers seek outside assistance with getting their taxes prepared. It’s estimated that 60% of taxpayers seek outside assistance to prepare their tax returns.
A tax preparer is a professional that is qualified to calculate, file and sign income tax returns on behalf of individuals and businesses. They can also represent the taxpayer during IRS examinations of tax returns. There are various types of job titles these professionals may have, as well as various certifications and educational levels; individuals need to choose which type of tax professional will best suit their situation.
Moore Accounting Services and the offices of Brian Moore, CPA have 15 years’ experience with every kind of business and personal tax preparation. We hold an active CPA license from both the Ohio state and South Carolina state board of accountancy. We specialize in tax debt resolution nationwide and have a broad knowledge of intricate federal, state, and local tax situations and complex tax related issues.
People and companies have to file tax returns every year. There are various types of tax preparation professionals, along with various levels of experience and appropriateness to an individual’s personal tax situation. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires registration for all paid tax preparers. Tax preparation professionals must obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and include it on all returns they sign. We sign our names to your tax return – therefore we are always very careful to submit an accurate and complete return for every taxpayer. In the pool of United States taxpayers, there is a yearly audit of 2% of the populations tax returns. We feel our tax preparation services are like audit insurance because we are very careful not to use ‘red flag’ triggers when preparing a tax return, and in the rare case your taxes do get audited, we have the expertise to prove correct numbers to satisfy the auditors. We make it as painless as possible for a fraction of the cost of a tax attorney.
Before the preparer can begin preparing a return, the preparer must ask the appropriate questions to determine which tax form is required to prepare the client’s return. The tax preparer must discover the client’s annual income, exemptions, deductions and expenses. It is also essential that the preparer determine whether the client owns a business. If the client hired the tax preparer to prepare last year’s taxes, the preparer might also examine the prior year’s tax forms and question any changes.
To complete an income tax return, the tax preparer must collect and discuss the client’s current year financial information. This information will typically include income statements, such as Form W-2; expense documents, such as receipts; the names and Social Security numbers of all dependents; and any other forms that the client received. These forms will determine whether any supporting documents are required to complete the return.
Moore Accounting Services uses income tax software to prepare income tax returns. These computer programs present the preparer with a checklist, which helps the program to determine which forms are required to complete the return. For those preparers who do not use tax software, the IRS offers fillable forms, which perform the calculations automatically. While preparing the forms, the tax preparer will search for tax-saving deductions or credits and try to reduce or eliminate the client’s tax. If the client has an unusual tax situation, the preparer will refer to the IRS website or Publication 17 for assistance. Once the forms are completed, we will advise the client of the tax due or amount of the refund.
Most tax preparers will file a client’s income tax returns electronically. If the preparer does not use software to prepare the tax returns, the IRS offers a free service to file them. Filing electronically offers several benefits to clients, which include the elimination of inaccuracies on a return, faster processing times and prompt refunds. Clients who choose to file electronically must present the preparer with last year’s adjusted gross income and PIN number. If the client does not have this information, the preparer can assist the client with contacting the IRS to obtain this information. For clients who would rather file the return through the mail, the preparer must assemble the return, request the client to sign the return, and prepare the envelope.
We hope this answers any questions you have about tax preparation and the choices you have for the process. Don’t go it alone. Enjoy the peace-of-mind you get when you let a professional tax preparer do the work for you. Have a blessed day.