In 2016, more than 131 million individual and family tax returns were e-filed. The rest of the returns received by the IRS, numbering more than 19 million, were either prepared on a computer and printed or prepared by hand then mailed.
The IRS stresses that no matter who prepares it, by signing the return, the taxpayer becomes legally responsible for the accuracy of all information included.
Picking a service
There are various types of tax return preparers, including certified public accountants, enrolled agents, attorneys, and many others who don’t have a professional credential. You expect your preparer, like Tax Leaders, to be skilled in tax preparation and to accurately file your income tax return.
Taxpayers must their preparers with their most personal information. They know about your marriage, your income, your children and your social security numbers – the details of your financial life
Most tax return preparers provide outstanding and professional tax service. However, each year, some taxpayers are hurt financially because they choose the wrong tax return preparer.
Be sure to check the IRS’s tips for choosing a tax preparer for more information.
Free Tax Preparation
Each year, millions of tax returns are prepared for free by taxpayers using IRS Free File or by volunteers at community organization sites nationwide.
IRS Free File lets taxpayers who earned less than $64,000 prepare and e-file a return for free. Go to IRS.gov and click on the ‘Filing’ tab for options on using commercial tax software.
IRS trained and certified volunteers at thousands of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly sites nationwide, like the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, offer free tax preparation and e-filing.
VITA offers free tax return preparation to taxpayers who earn $54,000 or less. The TCE program is mainly for people age 60 or older and focuses on tax issues unique to seniors. AARP participates in the TCE program and helps taxpayers with low to moderate incomes.
The IRS urges taxpayers to avoid fly-by-night preparers who may not be available after this year’s April 18 due date or base fees on a percentage of the refund. The IRS also reminds taxpayers that a new law requires all refunds on returns that claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) be held until Feb. 15. This change helps the IRS detect and prevent fraud.