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IRS Tax Tip 2013-07: Ten Tips to Help You Choose a Tax Preparer

1. Check the preparer’s qualifications. All paid tax return preparers are required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number. In addition to making sure they have a PTIN, ask if the preparer belongs to a professional organization and attends continuing education classes.

Our Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) is P01605882.

Ernest Lee

- is a licensed attorney with more than 10 years of federal, state, local and international tax experience. 

- is a member of the American Bar Association, Section of Taxation, the International Bar Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and;  

- regularly attends continuing legal education (CLE) classes taught by some of the brightest tax minds in the country.


2. Check on the preparer’s history. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the preparer has a questionable history. Also check for any disciplinary actions and for the status of their licenses. For certified public accountants, check with the state boards of accountancy. For attorneys, check with the state bar associations. For enrolled agents, check with the IRS Office of Enrollment.

We are a member in good standing of Better Business Bureau.

Ernest is licensed to practice law by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (PA 90635) and the State of New Jersey (NJ 4182003) and has had no disciplinary actions or other complaints filed. 

Ernest is fully qualified and will be taking the Florida State Bar Exam and the Florida Certified Public Accountant's (CPA) exam. 

Ernest is an IRS Paid Tax Preparer (PTIN 01605882).

3. Ask about service fees. Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund or those who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers can. Also, always make sure any refund due is sent to you or deposited into an account in your name. Taxpayers should not deposit their refund into a preparer’s bank account.

Although we do offer to review prior year returns and hope that we will find every deduction available on those returns, we do not base our fee for preparing any amended returns on a percentage of the refund or claim that we can obtain any larger refund than any other tax preparer could given a thorough review of those returns.

Our fees are based upon the time spent and the seniority of the staff involved.  We rely on our rodeo industry expertise and our years of tax experience to make certain that we are asking you all of the right questions so that we can thoroughly and accurately report your taxable income and allowable expenses to the IRS. 

4. Ask to e-file your return. Make sure your preparer offers IRS e-file. Any paid preparer who prepares and files more than 10 returns for clients must file the returns electronically, unless the client opts to file a paper return. IRS has safely and securely processed more than one billion individual tax returns since the debut of electronic filing in 1990.

We offer IRS e-file for all returns prepared by us. 

5. Make sure the preparer is accessible. Make sure you will be able to contact the tax preparer after you file your return, even after the April 15 due date. This may be helpful in the event questions arise about your tax return.

We are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to answer any of your questions regarding your returns.

6. Provide records and receipts. Reputable preparers will request to see your records and receipts. They will ask you questions to determine your total income and your qualifications for deductions, credits and other items. Do not use a preparer who is willing to e-file your return by using your last pay stub before you receive your Form W-2. This is against IRS e-file rules.

We ask that you provide us the most complete records and receipts available.  This includes paper transaction receipts, credit card statements, bank account statements, and Forms W-2 and 1099.  We are often asked to cross-check this information with online rodeo schedules or written notes in a paper calendar to verify that you have not missed any item of taxable income or expense.  

We will and have gone so far as to calculate mileage between rodeos or the market price for fuel in certain locations to not only make certain that the mileage is being reported properly but also to make certain that a taxpayer has not missed any fuel expenses for the trip.

7. Never sign a blank return. Avoid tax preparers that ask you to sign a blank tax form.

We will provide you with a draft PDF copy of your return for your review only after we have completed the return.  

We will then discuss any items on the return that we feel should be brought to your attention and ensure that you are comfortable with the accuracy and completeness of the return before providing you with a FINAL copy for your signature.

8. Review the entire return before signing. Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions. Make sure you understand everything and are comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign it.

We will provide you with a draft PDF copy of your return for your review before we provide a final copy for your signature. 

We will then discuss any items on the return that we feel should be brought to your attention and ensure that you are comfortable with the accuracy and completeness of the return before providing you with a FINAL copy for your signature. 

9. Make sure the preparer signs and includes their PTIN. A paid preparer must sign the return and include their PTIN as required by law. The preparer must also give you a copy of the return.

We sign including our PTIN and standing firmly behind every return that we sign. 

There is no additional charge for any IRS enquiries, audits or legal representation to you in regard to a tax return that we have prepared.

10. Report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. You can report abusive tax preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS on Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If you suspect a return preparer filed or altered a return without your consent, you should also file Form 14157-A, Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit. Download the forms on the website or order them by mail at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

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