Norvell and Associates Certified Public Accountants on Latest Tax Tips Offered by the Better Business Bureau

A lot of us have begun or will be getting our W-2 forms shortly, meaning it's about that time to start thinking about income taxes and a potential refund or the coming April 15 deadline to pay in. With the beginning of a new tax season, the Better Business Bureau recently offered a list of tips to keep in mind if you need help from someone trustworthy in the tax preparation business.

Ask around -- Get referrals from friends or family and research tax preparation services at

Consider accessibility -- Some services wind down operations shortly after the April 15 deadline. If the IRS finds errors or you become subject to an audit, you need to be sure you can contact your tax preparer throughout the year.

Be wary -- Don't risk engaging tax preparation services that promise refunds much larger than the competition and avoid those who base their fee on a percentage of what you'll get back.

Look for credentials -- Ideally, you'd prefer your tax preparer to be a certified public accountant, a tax attorney, an enrolled agent or a certified e-file provider.

Note the Preparer Tax Identification Number -- A PTIN must be obtained by all tax return preparers who are compensated for preparing or assisting in the preparation of any US federal tax return, refund claim or form submitted to the IRS.

Check up -- You can investigate whether a preparer has any questionable history with the Minnesota Board of Accountancy or the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Remember -- A paid preparer is required by law to sign your return and fill in the preparer areas of the form. They should include their identifying number and give you a copy of your return.

Read any contract carefully -- Make sure you understand issues such as how much it will cost for service, how that cost will be affected if your tax preparation is more complicated than expected and whether the preparer will represent you in case of an audit.

Don't forget Free File -- If your adjusted gross income is $60,000 or less, Free File offers Federal tax preparation and e-filing. Visit for more.

Don't delay -- Tax refund fraud, a form of identity theft, occurs when someone fraudulently files a tax return in your name. This is difficult to detect and can delay any refund you're due. One of the best ways to avoid this is to file your return as soon as possible. Taxpayers also will receive refunds quicker by filing electronically with the direct deposit option.

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