Dos and Don'ts of Preparing Taxes

Do
  • double check everything.
  • file online for faster, easier, more accurate return preparation and a faster refund.
  • use the IRS's Freefile service, if you qualify.
  • be sure to have all required forms, receipts, schedules and other materials (W-2's, W-2G, 1099-R, 9465, etc.).
  • check only one filing status on your return.
  • file with a preparer affiliated with a professional organization and;
  • file with someone you trust and of whom you can ask questions or;
  • file with an accredited tax preparer or enrolled agent, if necessary.
  • file online with a site registered with Thawte and/or TrustE (security and privacy certification companies) and listed as an authorized e-file provider.
  • print off your self-prepared tax form for e-filing and have a friend or family member check it over.
  • check over your printed form once more just to be sure.
  • report suspected tax fraud to the IRS (phone at 1-800-829-0433).
  • be sure to file on time.
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Don't
  • purchase a refund anticipation loan (RAL) until you are clear about all your other options and know how much money you are losing.
  • file with a tax preparer who promises you a higher return than other tax preparers.
  • file with a tax preparer who bases his or her fee on your refund amount.
  • forget that you are always ultimately responsible for the accuracy and legality of your tax return.
  • file online if you are uncomfortable with the technology.
  • use an online file preparation service that does not make major yearly upgrades.
  • file unless you have printed off copies of all your forms and reread the hard copy.
  • forget to check the accuracy of social insurance numbers for you, your spouse and all dependents.
  • forget to sign your form.

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