The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — If you decide to hire a professional to help prepare your taxes, it's important to remember that you are still ultimately responsible for what's on your return.
Here are some tips to remember before you hire someone to assist with your taxes:
1. Ask for recommendations.
Word of mouth is the best way to find a reliable preparer, so ask friends and family where they get their taxes done and if they've had any problems with their preparers.
2. Make sure the person is qualified.
Your preparer doesn't need to be a certified public accountant, but it's important to make sure he or she is properly trained and stays up to date on tax law changes. Ask questions about the individual's training, experience and continuing education.
3. Be certain the preparer will have your back in an audit.
Ask the preparer if you'll have support if the IRS questions your return or you get audited. Audits are rare, but can be unpleasant, and you shouldn't have to face them alone. Ask if the preparer has experience handling such problems — but not too much, which may signal problems.