Most taxpayers get professional tax help. And there's a lot of advice on how to hire a tax pro that fits your needs.
But it's a two-way street. While you must carefully select and check out your tax preparer, the professional with whom you work to meet your tax responsibilities depends on you to get the job done.
So today's Daily Tax Tip is the quick list below of ways you can help your tax pro do the best possible job.
Be professional: Even if you're a personal friend with your tax pro, tax filing is a business arrangement. So just as you expect your tax preparer to do his or her job thoroughly and professionally, you as a client do the same. Don't call your tax pro at home or after hours except in extreme situations.
Be responsible: We're all adults here. You know you have to report all your income to the IRS. So quit acting like a spoiled child, complaining about the tax laws that your pro can't change. Help him or her do what's legally necessary to file your taxes properly.
Be thorough: Tax pros deal with some of the most complex issues in the world, but they are not magicians. They can't just conjure up your tax data. You have to get it to them, ideally in an as complete and organized manner as possible.
Most tax professionals provide their clients with filing checklists to make the job easier for both of you. Use it! Fill it out completely and bring the supporting documentation that it asks for.
Be honest: Denial might be the biggest state in America, but it will kill you at tax time. And your tax pro will have to fight murderous impulses, too, if you lie about a tax situation. Yes, you as the taxpayer signing your 1040 are the person ultimately responsible for what's on the forms and schedules, but your tax pro's reputation is at stake, too, not to mention the time spent on a return that will cause problems because you didn't provide accurate information.
These are just a few of areas that are important in the tax preparer, tax client relationship. But they give you an idea of what you, the taxpayer, need to do to make sure you aren't the tax client from hell.
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