Top Tax Tips from your Better Business Bureau

March 08, 2013

CHICAGO, IL– March 7, 2013 - Duringthis tax season, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Chicagoand Northern Illinois advises taxpayers to avoid making common mistakes byusing caution when selecting tax preparation help. This step will avoidheadaches, fines or fees if the return is not correct or filed late.

In the past 12-month period the number of inquiries abouttax return preparation received by the BBB rose to 10,925 from 8,052. This wasan increase of 36 percent.

“A tax refund can provide much-needed aid for familiesenduring financial hardship,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of theBetter Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “The increase in our inquiries abouttax preparation shows that people are being more cautious about who they choosefor assistance in their taxes. Your BBB advises taking the time to be thoroughthe first time around to avoid a headache in the future.”

The BBB offers the following tips for individuals stillworking on their returns:

·        Researchtax preparers you can trust for free at

·        Bewary of Tax Refund Anticipation Loans. This is a loan provided by a thirdparty against a taxpayer's expected refund. The tax refund anticipation loan isnot provided by the U.S. Treasury or the IRS and is subject to the interest andfees set by the lender. Some of these lenders have hidden fees and fileinaccurate tax returns without consumer consent.

·        Checkfor missing, incorrect or illegible Social Security Numbers which can delay atax refund.

·        Taxpayersmust sign and date returns. Both spouses must sign a joint return, even withone income. Anyone paid to prepare a return must also sign.

·        Fileelectronically instead of using paper tax forms to receive your refund morerapidly.

·        Makeany check out to “United States Treasury” and enclose it with, but don't attachit to, your return or Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher. Include your SocialSecurity number, daytime phone number, the tax year and the type of form filed.

·        Be sure to keep all receipts and other documentsand forms that were used in preparing your tax return. IRS, generally, hasthree years to audit a return. They can audit you without limitation if you donot file, file a false return, or purposely avoid paying taxes.

For more advice on findingprofessionals you can trust, visit


As a private, non-profitorganization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote anethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means ofconciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims,online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop andissue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encouragepeople to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.