Ask military friends, colleagues and officers who they use to help prepare their taxes. A referral from another military servicemember will help you begin to locate tax preparers who are most familiar with military tax provisions.
Before they were famous, many truly influential men and women started by serving their country in the US military or grew up in military families.

How to Choose a Tax Preparer

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Employing the support of a tax preparer should lessen the burden of tax-season, not add stress to your military life. Many tax preparers are professionals who can help leverage the latest tax benefits, resulting in a higher tax check for you. A good tax preparer knows the nuances of the tax system and stays abreast of annual changes in the tax laws - in particular, those tax laws that benefit the military such as hazardous duty and combat zone taxes and certain military tax deadline extensions.

No matter how adept your tax preparer, the IRS reminds you that you are legally responsible for accurate tax information on your tax returns, regardless of who files the forms. So how do you choose a military-minded tax preparer who will do the best job for you? Follow these tips to find a tax preparer that will best serve your military needs.

ASK FOR REFERRALS

Ask military friends, colleagues and officers who they use to help prepare their taxes. A referral from another military serviceperson will help you begin to locate tax preparers who are most familiar with military tax provisions. Then, it's up to you to do thorough due diligence on every referral.

CHECK QUALIFICATIONS

Reliable qualifications are key. Ask your potential tax preparer if he or she is affiliated with a longstanding, professional organization with qualifications you can check. Do a background check to see if there is questionable history with the Better Business Bureau, or the state's bar association for attorneys.

ASK ABOUT FEES UP FRONT

Always agree on the tax preparer's fee up front before signing on the dotted line. Avoid tax preparers who charge a percentage of your tax refund rather than a flat fee. Also avoid organizations that claim they can get you a larger refund and in return demand a higher percentage of your tax refund.

IS YOUR TAX PREPARER THOROUGH?

Reputable tax preparers will request to see records and receipts to check your total income and qualifications for deductions and expenses. Be sure to provide all information, and make sure the preparer is available even after April 15th to answer your tax questions.

YOUR TAX FORMS, SIGNED AND SEALED

Before your tax returns are signed by both you and your tax preparer, review all of the information and ask questions until you are comfortable with its accuracy. The tax preparer is required by law to sign, but legally you are responsible to the information on the forms. Never sign a blank tax return, and beware of tax preparers that request a signature on a blank form. This puts you in danger of being held legally responsible for false information or scams. Retain all copies of your tax returns for at least 7 years.



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