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Tax Return Preparer

Many taxpayers seek the help of an income tax return preparer. There are many income tax return preparers to choose from. Some CPAs are tax return preparers, others are just tax preparers without certifications. The IRS has some rules regarding tax return preparer services.

What is a federal income tax return preparer?

The IRS defines an income tax return preparer as anyone you pay to:

  • prepare,
  • assist in preparing or
  • review your tax return
Must my tax return preparer sign his or her name on my tax return?

Yes. If you paid someone to help your with your tax preparation, he or she must sign his or her name and fill in the other blanks in the paid tax return preparer's are in your tax return.

Tax Return preparer

What are the ways a paid tax return preparer can sign on my tax return?

There are a number of ways a paid income tax return preparer can sign your tax return such as by hand manually, by using a rubber stamp, by mechanical devie or by computer software program. It is the income tax preparer's responsibility to sign your tax return. However, if he or she doesn't then the IRS might think that you did not use an income tax preparer.

What if my tax preparer is self employed?

Many tax preparers are self employed vs employed at tax preparation houses such as H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt or Liberty Tax Services. If your tax preparer is self employed, he or she should check the self employment box on your tax return s paid preparer section.

Someone helped me prepare my tax return but I did not pay that preparer, should he or she sign my tax return?

No. If the person helping you with your tax preparation did not charge you and you did not pay him or her, that tax return preparer need not sign your tax return and be liable for any questions from the IRS.