Tips for finding reputable tax preparer

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Revenue wants to ensure the 2017 individual tax season is stress free for Hoosiers. Whether a taxpayer relies on a tax preparer or files their own tax return, here are some tips to help people through the process.

Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer

Many Hoosier taxpayers rely on tax preparers to file their tax returns. Here are some helpful tips to choose a tax preparer you can trust:

• Learn how much the preparer will charge before your return is prepared.

• Avoid preparers who base their fees on a percentage of the amount of a refund or who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers.

• Ensure the tax preparer provides a copy of the return to keep for records.

• Never use a tax preparer who asks someone to sign a blank tax form.

• Choose a tax preparer who will be around to answer questions after tax season.

• Make sure the tax preparer has a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) and belongs to a professional organization, such as the Indiana CPA Society or the Indiana Society of Enrolled Agents.

• Ask the tax preparer about the security measures he or she takes to protect taxpayer data. Is ax information kept in locked containers? Is data encrypted on computers used to file tax returns? How are documents that include personal information destroyed?

File Your Federal and Indiana Tax Returns for Free

Nearly two-thirds of Indiana taxpayers qualify to file their federal and state taxes online for free using Indiana freefile (INfreefile). Benefits to filing electronically include:

• Faster refunds – E-filed returns are processed in 12 to 14 days, while a paper return can take up to 12 weeks to process.

• More secure – Fewer people see e-filed returns, making this option more secure.

• Fewer errors – E-filed returns have a two percent error rate, compared to a 20 percent error rate for paper-filed returns.

• More convenient – Sophisticated, question-and-answer style software makes it easy to file federal and state taxes at the same time.

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