Story Pitch: Choosing a Tax Preparer - What's in a Name?

How Titles Can Affect Your Taxes

Accountant, Enrolled Agent, CPA, Registered Tax Preparer - what's the difference? National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson notes that 60% of taxpayers pay someone to prepare their returns. Many of your audience members fall into this category and may be a bit confused by all of the titles out there. Given the complexity of tax laws, Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) recommends the public consider the following -

 Is the preparer eligible to file a return?
 What are the differences in education and training?
 Will the preparer be able to represent the taxpayer in court?
 Is the preparer available year - round?
 What are the best ways to find out about the preparer's credibility?

Taxpayers are legally responsible for their return, no matter who prepares it. It's important to make sure that the person chosen is not only knowledgeable and has the right experience to do a good job, but is also trustworthy and qualified. To set up an interview with a local CPA to help your audience sort through the variety of preparer possibilities, contact Kathleen Miller at 215-972-6188 or kmiller@picpa.org or Jackie Barnard at 267-675-6255 or jbarnard@picpa.org.