If you haven't already filed taxes, check our 5 tips for filing your taxes before April 15!
Research the tax professionals’ credentials and if the preparer is affiliated with a company that provides their employees with continuing education and holds them to a code of ethics. If it’s a tax program, check out the reviews online to determine ease of use and what issues have arisen with the product, if any. To read more tips on choosing a tax professional, check the IRS website.
Select a tax software for its productivity and performance rather than its sticker price (if you use tax preparation software). You’ll want a program that “asks simple questions, automatically selects and completes the forms you’ll need, and double checks your return” (O’Connell, 2014). It’s also important that the program electronically files your return so you can get your refund faster and avoid mailing it out yourself.
Check to see that the tax software program is up-to-date with the recent tax law changes. This real-time software will allow you to stay ahead of the tax law changes and not miss out on tax breaks or deductions (O’Connell, 2014). For more information on selecting tax preparation software, check out Investopedia's Article, "Key Steps In Choosing The Best Tax Preparation Software".
Familiarize yourself with the Choosing a financial Professional website from University of Illinois Extension. This resource provides consumers with a guide to choosing a professional and breaks down common terms and credentials, including the difference between fiduciary and non-fiduciary financial professionals.
Use the IRS
Use the IRS website for tax information and tips. Filing your taxes can seem like a confusing process, so thankfully the IRS has compiled a list of tax tips. This resource covers a range of topics that include: avoiding tax scams, facts about dependents and exemptions, and choosing the right filing status. Use the IRS website to determine if you qualify for Free File which can be used to file your federal taxes for free.