What all should a Tax preparer have

Each tax season tax agents and preparers come handy to rescue those individuals who find it difficult to handle their own tax preparations. There are number of taxpayers which find it more comfortable if someone could help them with the responsibility of filing annual tax returns. IRS has also prescribed certain guidelines to govern who all can become paid tax preparers and offer their services to taxpayers. When selecting a paid tax preparer we should check for the following:

  • The paid tax preparer must be educationally qualified to handle tax related matters and must have at least few years of experience as a tax preparer, if not more. Feedback of the old clients could provide good information about his performance and capabilities.
  • A tax preparer should preferably be a member of some professional body through which his past record and credentials be verified.
  • The charges or the service fee charged by him should be reasonable. We should avoid preparers who base their service fee on the amount of your tax return.
  • You should have all numbers and addresses where you can locate your tax preparer. During the peak tax season often there is a shortage preparers and it becomes difficult to get hold of them to finish a uncompleted job.
  • Ensure your tax preparer is also approachable after completion of your job. He may further be required in case you get some queries from IRS.

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From where one can get IRS forms and publications

In the olden says all taxpayers used to get tax packages through post which contained relevant forms and information regarding filing tax returns. Things have changed and now move at much faster pace. Electronic media, more specifically internet has gained importance. The things which use to take weeks to complete can now me done in minutes if not seconds. IRS has kept pace with time and now offers most of the information and solutions to tax filing through their official web site. Though electronic media has overtaken the traditional media by far but still they both coexist. Following are the ways through which a taxpayer can get various IRS forms and publications:

  • The first choice is obviously internet. This medium is the fastest, open 24 X 7 and provides all the required information for almost free of cost. One can get all the tax forms and various publications of IRS on their official web site.
  • Assistance Centres are operated at 401 locations around America by IRS where one could just walk in can get all the desired information including various forms and publications.
  • During a tax season often various forms and publications are available nearest post office, community centres and large retail stores.

You can also choose the more traditional medium of requesting tax forms and publication through post. You can contact IRS through their toll free number and order your copy of any publication or form.

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How you can get your old income tax related information

We often find our old income tax related records missing. Perhaps each year we are too relieved after filing our tax returns that we totally forget to keep a copy for our future reference. Even if we remember that we had kept a copy we do not remember where. We should make it a habit to keep proper records for our tax documents; they might come handy in future as well. Now for those who don’t have these records and now need to get a copy for some or the other work, your best bet would be to approach Internal Revenue Service department to get a copy of your old return.

IRS could be contacted on phone, through email or in person to request for a copy of your old tax records. There is a good side to it as well, IRS officials would be happy to serve you with this regards and this service is free of cost. You can get tax records for past three years and IRS won’t charge you for those. IRS saves your records in form of Transcripts. These transcripts are available in two forms. First form is what you submitted to IRS and the second form is records with adjustments or comments made by IRS on your submission. You have the choice of choosing which form of this transcript is desired by you.

IRS’s official website contains the details regarding the telephone numbers which to call to get these records and also the email id on which you can mail the request to get these records. In case you want to send request in writing you will have to fill form 4506T-EZ and submit it to IRS. You will get hard copies of these transcripts by submission of form 4506T-EZ, through it may take close to a month to receive the same. While requests received on telephone or email are entertained within a week.

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Free file software to your rescue

Preparing and filing tax returns has never been easy for us. Especially to those who are not from an accounting background or have analytical bend of mind find it difficult to understand the provisions of income tax laws and how they can get benefit from them. As a result many people do not calculate their taxes correctly; they end up paying more or less to IRS. To make life easy for all the taxpayers IRS has developed computer software which guides you through the steps of preparing income tax and even submits the same to IRS online. This option is less cumbersome and comes almost free of cost for eligible taxpayers. Broadly speaking there are two options available through which one can file their tax returns online:

  • Those with Adjusted Gross Income of $ 58,000 or less – In case your Adjusted Gross income is lesser than $ 58,000 have the option of choosing one of IRS recommended software which will help them prepare and file their income tax returns.  One can visit the official website of IRS to get the list of software which is recommended by them. The website also has ample amount of information which will help you select the software which will suit your requirements. Once you select your software you will be further directed to the company which has developed that particular software where you will be further guided on your income tax preparation.
  • Those with Adjusted Gross Income above $ 58,000 – Such taxpayers cannot make use of the above option for filing their returns electronically. They can still visit the IRS’s website where free forms are available. They can fill the details in those forms and file their returns online. They will not be assisted by any software in this process though.

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