First for You: The One Question to Ask Your Tax Preparer | News

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First for You: The One Question to Ask Your Tax Preparer
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - If you pay someone to do your taxes, new IRS rules mean they are required to be registered with the Internal Revenue Service.  Once registered, every tax preparer will get assigned a unique Preparer Tax Identification Number, or PTIN. 

Florida IRS Media Relations Specialist Michael Dobzinski said the PTINs are designed to help the IRS keep better track of people preparing consumers' returns and reduce the risk of fraud.   

"Most paid tax return preparers are professional, honest and provide excellent service to their clients," Dobzinski wrote in an email.  "The IRS is committed to investigating those who do not meet these standards." 

Other rules enacted this year require tax professionals to pass a competency test and take continuing education courses to remain registered with the IRS in the future. 

Robert Burke, a Certified Public Accountant in Mandarin, believes the new rules will protect everyone, including tax preparers.  In the past, Burke had to put his personal Social Security number on tax returns he did for his customers, which he said put him at risk for identity theft. 

Burke explained that consumers should ask their tax preparer for more than just their PTIN number. 

"Because the taxpayer has to remember that they are solely responsible for their tax return," said Burke.  "They're the ones that sign that tax return.  They're the ones who need to review it.  So, they're the ones that need to ask the questions as well."

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