The mousetrap of refunds during tax season. When choosing the wrong tax preparer can really hurt you.

I’ve discussed the perils of using the wrong tax preparer before in a former blog, but I wanted to reiterate it today because I know there is a lot of news out there regarding refunds and taxpayers getting a smaller refund than normal.

The writers of this article explain succinctly and knowledgeably argue that a smaller refund doesn’t necessarily mean that you didn’t get a tax cut.

Today’s topic is more focused on watching out for tax preparers that will do you more harm than good because you are overly concerned about getting a maximum refund.

BEWARE of tax preparers that will not sign the return and do not have a PTIN. The IRS requires tax preparers to have a PTIN. Never let a tax preparer sign the return for you. Always question WHY something is on a return. If you see income or expenses that you didn’t know why it was put on the return, QUESTION IT!

BEWARE of tax preparers that charge a fee based on the percentage of the refund or direct refunds into their own bank account rather than yours.

We all count on refunds from the IRS, but if you aren’t careful and use a bad preparer, you’ll wind up with a tax audit and pay more in taxes, penalties and interest than you would have paid had you used a reputable preparer.

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