BBB offers tips Finding a Tax Preparer

February 02, 2016

Tax Preparation Tips from BBB

Akron, OH –  It’s that time of year again. Over the next few weeks, W-2 forms will show up at your work desk or in your mail. And while the thought of a hefty tax return could be a happy one, the consequences of filing your taxes the wrong way is not. 

While it can be tempting to rush out and get your taxes done so you can get your refund sooner, your BBB of Akron Serving Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit & Wayne Counties encourages taxpayers to take time and use caution when selecting a tax preparer you can trust. It is important to avoid mistakes that could result in additional fees or even tax identity theft.

Unfortunately, identity theft is not the only thing to watch out for when enlisting the help of a tax preparer or tax software to file your taxes. BBB receives thousands of complaints from consumers against tax preparers every year. In fact, BBB has seen a rise in complaints over the last three years.

In 2015, BBB received more than 4,700 complaints against businesses providing accounting and tax return preparation services across the United States and Canada. Common complaints state that the tax preparer made errors in their return which resulted in fines and fees. Other complaints allege customer service, billing and contract issues.

BBB offers the following advice when searching for a tax preparer:

  • Look for credentials. Ideally, your tax preparer should either be a certified public accountant, a tax attorney or an enrolled agent. All three can represent you before the IRS in all matters, including an audit.

  • Don’t fall for the promise of a big refund. Be wary of any tax preparation service promising larger refunds than the competition. Avoid any tax preparer who bases their fee on a percentage of the refund.

  • Think about accessibility. Many tax preparation services only set up shop for the months leading up to April 15. In case the IRS finds errors, or in case of an audit, make sure you are able to contact your tax preparer at any time of the year.

  • Read the contract carefully. Read tax preparation service contracts closely to ensure you understand issues such as how much it is going to cost for the service, how the cost will be affected if preparation is more complicated and time consuming than expected, and whether the tax preparer will represent you in the case of an audit.

  • Ask around. Find BBB Accredited tax preparation businesses in your local area. There are over 60 BBB Accredited accounting and tax preparation businesses Serving Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit & Wayne Counties. Check out to find a BBB Accredited business near you!

Your BBB is dedicated to fostering honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers -- instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.

Remember to review local businesses by searching for them on our site - we're not just about complaints! 

Contact us with any questions - 800.825.8887