Choosing the right tax preparer

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Financial confidence for many Americans begins with the tax refund. And, it’s less about total household income, and more about knowing what to expect at tax time — especially when it comes to your refund.

The good news is there are opportunities to take control of your finances to become more confident, including planning around your tax refund and finding the right qualified tax preparer who will help you get every credit and deduction you deserve.

Here are a few questions you should be asking when selecting a tax preparer:

Do you have a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) and how do you stay current on taxes?

Paid tax return preparers are required to have a current PTIN. Your preparer must sign the return and include their PTIN before it is filed. In addition to whether they have a PTIN, you should ask about what education courses they take to stay up-to-date on tax law or what professional organizations they belong to.

“Tax law changes annually, and this year, with COVID-19 relief bills, we saw even more changes than usual,” said Andy Phillips, director of the Tax Institute at H&R Block. “In fact, an H&R Block study found that 56% of Americans have more tax questions than last year due to the pandemic. A qualified tax professional can help you make sense of the many tax law changes and how they impact your specific situation to help you get the best outcome.”

How do you protect my information?

Look for a preparer who has safety protections in place to keep your data and your identity secure. In a year when more people will work with tax preparers remotely, this is especially important, Phillips says.

H&R Block uses myBlock, a secure client-data portal, to safely share documents between clients and their tax professionals.

Are you available year-round?

In addition to protecting your data, you want to find a tax professional who can help you year-round in case you need to amend a return or if the IRS comes back with questions. The myBlock app allows you to get tax return updates, store your tax documents, connect with a tax pro year-round, and plan for next year.

“If a letter from the IRS arrives, don’t panic. Make sure you read it clearly and understand your next steps,” says Phillips. “If you don’t feel comfortable responding to the notice or need help figuring out what it means, you won’t have to go it alone if you have a tax preparer who is available year-round.”

At H&R Block, you can work with its tax pros every year so they can better understand your unique tax filing situation. More than twenty million Americans trust H&R Block professionals and software each year to prepare their taxes and help get their maximum refunds.

Working with an H&R Block tax pro is easy and they can help no matter how you want to do your taxes. You can drop your documents off at a local office or securely send a pic of your docs, and when they finish your review you can approve it online. Get started at hrblock.com.

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