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Editorial: It’s tax season: Here’s a few tips to assist

The IRS is now processing tax returns, and the agency continues to emphasize the convenience and security of their online services for taxpayers. Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota offers some helpful tips for the public as tax ...

The IRS is now processing tax returns, and the agency continues to emphasize the convenience and security of their online services for taxpayers. Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota offers some helpful tips for the public as tax season kicks into gear.
“Most of us know the anxiety level only grows the longer we put off doing our personal taxes,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota. “It’s better to be proactive. If you’re not comfortable preparing your own taxes, be sure to find a qualified professional to assist you.”
BBB offers the following tips on how to find a trustworthy tax preparer:
n Ask around. Get referrals from friends and family on who they use.
n Consider accessibility. Some tax preparation services wind down their operations shortly after the April 15 tax deadline. In case the IRS finds errors or in case of an audit, you need to be sure you know how to contact your tax preparer throughout the year.
n Bigger isn’t always better. Be wary of tax preparation services that promise larger refunds than the competition, and avoid tax preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund.
n Look for credentials. Ideally, your tax preparer should either be a certified public accountant, a tax attorney, an enrolled agent or a certified E-file provider.
n Make sure they have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). A PTIN must be obtained by all tax return preparers who are compensated for preparing or assisting in the preparation of, all or substantially all of any U.S. federal tax return, claim for refund, or other tax form submitted to the IRS.
n Read the contract carefully. Read contracts closely to ensure you understand issues such as how much it will cost for the service, how that cost will be affected if your tax preparation is more complicated and time consuming than expected, and whether the tax preparer will represent you in case of an audit.
The IRS says taxpayers will receive their tax refunds quicker by using e-file or Free File, with the direct deposit option.
BBB is also warning people about tax refund fraud, a form of identity theft where someone else fraudulently files a tax return in your name. This is a rapidly growing problem, one that is difficult to detect and can delay the tax refund you’re due. One of the best ways to avoid falling victim to this type of fraud is to file your tax return as soon as possible.
PARK RAPIDS ENTERPRISE

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