Archive March 2022

Tips to help taxpayers hire a reputable tax preparer

Tips to help taxpayers hire a reputable tax preparer

The tax filing deadline less than a month away. The IRS reminds all taxpayers but especially those who haven’t yet filed, to choose a tax return preparerwisely. Taxpayers are responsible for all the information on their income tax return regardless of who prepares the return.

Here are some tips to remember when selecting a tax return preparer:

Check the preparer’s qualifications. People can use the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications. This tool helps taxpayers find a tax return preparer with specific qualifications. The directory is a searchable and sortable listing of preparers.

Check the preparer’s history. Taxpayers can ask the local Better Business Bureau about the preparer.  Check for disciplinary actions and the license status for credentialed preparers. Here’s how to check on  specific types of preparers:

  • Enrolled Agents: Go to the verify enrolled agent status page on IRS.gov.
  • Certified Public Accountants: Check with the State Board of Accountancy.
  • Attorneys: Check with the State Bar Association.

Ask about service fees. People should avoid tax return preparers who base fees on a percentage of the refund or who boast bigger refunds than their competition.

Ask to e-file. To avoid pandemic related paper delays, taxpayers should ask their preparer to file electronically and choose direct deposit.

Make sure the preparer is available. Taxpayers may want to contact their tax return preparer after this year’s April 18 due date.

Provide records and receipts. Good preparers will ask to see a taxpayer’s records and receipts. They’ll ask questions to figure things like the total income, tax deductions and credits.

Never sign a blank return. Taxpayers should not use a tax return preparer who asks them to sign a blank tax form.

Review before signing. Before signing a tax return, the taxpayer should review it. They should ask questions if something is not clear. Taxpayers should feel comfortable with the accuracy of their return before they sign it.

Review details about any refund. Taxpayers should confirm the routing and bank account number on their completed return if they’re requesting direct deposit.

Ensure the preparer signs the return and includes their PTIN. All paid tax return preparers must have a Preparer Tax Identification number. By law, paid preparers must sign returns and include their PTIN on the return they file. The taxpayer’s copy of the return is not required to have the PTIN on it.

Report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. Most tax return preparers are honest and provide great service to their clients. However, some preparers are dishonest. People can report abusive tax preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS. Use Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer.

IRS reminds taxpayers they must check a box on Form 1040, 1040-SR or 1040-NR on virtual currency transactions for 2021

IRS reminds taxpayers they must check a box on Form 1040, 1040-SR or 1040-NR on virtual currency transactions for 2021

WASHINGTON — The IRS reminds taxpayers that there is a virtual currency question at the top of Form 1040, Form 1040-SR and Form 1040-NR. It asks: “At any time during 2021, did you receive, sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of any financial interest in any virtual currency?”

All taxpayers filing Form 1040, Form 1040-SR or Form 1040-NR must check one box answering either “Yes” or “No” to the virtual currency question. The question must be answered by all taxpayers, not just taxpayers who engaged in a transaction involving virtual currency in 2021.

When taxpayers can check “No”Taxpayers who merely owned virtual currency at any time in 2021 can check the “No” box when they have not engaged in any transactions involving virtual currency during the year, or their activities were limited to:

  • Holding virtual currency in their own wallet or account.
  • Transferring virtual currency between their own wallets or accounts.
  • Purchasing virtual currency using real currency, including purchases using real currency electronic platforms such as PayPal and Venmo.
  • Engaging in a combination of holding, transferring, or purchasing virtual currency as described above.

When taxpayers must check “Yes”The list below covers the most common transactions in virtual currency that require checking the “Yes” box:

  • The receipt of virtual currency as payment for goods or services provided;
  • The receipt or transfer of virtual currency for free (without providing any consideration) that does not qualify as a bona fide gift;
  • The receipt of new virtual currency as a result of mining and staking activities;
  • The receipt of virtual currency as a result of a hard fork;
  • An exchange of virtual currency for property, goods, or services;
  • An exchange/trade of virtual currency for another virtual currency;
  • A sale of virtual currency; and
  • Any other disposition of a financial interest in virtual currency.

If a taxpayer disposed of any virtual currency that was held as a capital asset through a sale, exchange or transfer, they must check “Yes” and use Form 8949 to figure their capital gain or loss and report it on Schedule D (Form 1040).

If a taxpayer received any virtual currency as compensation for services or disposed of any virtual currency that they held for sale to customers in a trade or business, they must report the income as they would report other income of the same type (for example, W-2 wages on Form 1040, 1040-SR, or 1040-NR, line 1, or inventory or services from Schedule C on Schedule 1).

For more information, see page 17 of the 2021 Form 1040 Instructions and visit IRS.gov for general information on virtual currency and other related resources.