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Finding a legitimate tax preparer

There are more than one million tax preparer. More than half don't have any credentials, and it's not a requirement in 46 states.

It's a problem that Certified Public Accountant Alice Zaganczyk spends a lot of time fixing each tax season. She says many people come with IRS letters owing money from letting unqualified friends and family file for them. Only 4 states, California, New York, Oregon, and Maryland regulate preparers, leaving little recourse if yours is done wrong. Zaganczyk suggests finding a tax preparer with proven experience and a financial background and education. Also check with the Better Business Bureau and see if they have a tax id number. Avoid those who promise bigger refunds through loopholes, as well.

Someone who is getting their taxes done, even if it's a regular W-2 should, really needs to be educated about what they're doing, and be able to have someone who is educating them and not just doing papers,\" Zaganczyk said.

Another tip, check all service fees. Some charge a percentage of your refund and that could equal out to hundreds of dollars. Others have a flat rate.

Alice Zaganczyk, Owner/CPA Am Accounting and Tax Services

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