Tips & Advice
Can a tax preparer be sued?
Yes, a tax preparer can be sued for malpractice if the plaintiff can demonstrate that they suffered damages due to a tax preparer’s failure to meet the minimum standards required by the IRS. A higher-than-wished-for tax bill is not usually justification. However, there may be just cause if the tax preparer made mistakes on a tax return that led to gross overpayment of tax, or if the tax preparer made mistakes on a client’s tax return that led to the client being audited or sanctioned. A tax preparer can also be sued for misappropriating the client’s funds.
What are the benefits of filing taxes electronically?
The benefits of filing taxes electronically are chiefly that the documents arrive faster to the IRS and state tax centers, and can be processed faster. Also, for those who are e-filing payments, you know the money is going immediately to the IRS or the state, and there is an electronic record—so no stress about a check being lost or a payment not recorded.
How much does it cost to have taxes filed professionally?
The cost to have taxes filed professionally ranges from about $150-$800, but the average cost for an individual is $250. The lowest cost is for someone filing a Form 1040 without itemized deductions. The highest cost is for corporate tax forms, which are largely for legitimate businesses with several employees.Many former 1099 contractors are switching to LLC or S-Corp status and therefore end up needing to file business taxes. Even individuals who are filing 1099s with itemized deductions and multiple clients might find themselves paying $500 to have their taxes professionally prepared because of the amount of detail work this requires from the tax preparer.
What documents are needed for filing taxes?
To files taxes you must provide all W2s and 1099s for the previous year, business-income records (for small business owners), investment-income records, rental-property income records, and documents showing social security and unemployment income. If you’ve settled a debt and received a document forgiving a certain amount, you should include that paperwork as well.
What is a certified tax preparer?
According to the IRS, a certified tax preparer is an authorized tax professional. The IRS assigns a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) to people who have attained this authorization.
There are different credentials under the PTIN umbrella.
Note: Specific practice rights of “Unlimited Representation Rights” and “Limited Representation” were redefined in 2016, to assign less-qualified preparers fewer responsibilities under “Limited Representation.”
- “Unlimited Representation Rights,” i.e., the power of representing clients on all tax-related issues
- This includes Enrolled Agents, who are licensed by the IRS, and CPAs, who are licensed by state boards of accountancy, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories
- Attorneys licensed by state courts
- “Limited Representation” certification for seasonal or non-credentialed individuals who can prepare taxes only, but not represent clients to the IRS