Tax preparers interview clients, review tax records, and fill out tax returns.
Tax preparers fill out tax returns for others for a fee. Their job is to complete the required forms using all the possible deductions to reduce their clients' tax debt. In larger firms, some tax preparers check forms and verify tax returns prepared by others.
Tax preparers first review clients' tax records to gather information about what forms to use. They look at previous years' tax returns, wage statements, and other tax records. They interview clients about their work, their expenses, and their investments. They also ask about events in the previous year that might affect clients' taxes, such as a new job.
Usually, tax preparers can complete the return during the interview with the client. They refer to tax tables and compute tax amounts. However, complex returns require more time. Sometimes tax preparers fill out detailed data sheets to be processed later. For unusual returns, tax preparers consult tax law handbooks or bulletins.
When returns are complete, tax preparers calculate their fee. They consider the complexity of the return and the time spent to complete it.
Tax preparers interpret current tax law for their clients. They also inform clients of the expected effects of new tax laws. Some tax preparers assist their clients with such matters as:
- Tax planning
Tax preparers who are enrolled agents with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may represent their clients at audits.