What to Look for in a Tax Preparer

Authored By: Legal Services Alabama


  • Avoid preparers who say they can get larger refunds than others.
  • Avoid preparers that use a percentage of the refund as their fee.
  • Use a preparer who signs your return and gives you a copy of the return.
  • Make sure the preparer will be there to answer questions for a long time after the return is filed.
  • Review your return before you sign it. Ask questions if you don't understand.
  • Never sign a blank tax form. Check your tax return. You are responsible for all the information on your return even if the preparer does not do it right.
  • Find out if anyone you know has used the preparer. Find out if they were happy with the services. Ask the preparer if they are an accredited tax preparer, an enrolled agent, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a licensed public accountant, or a tax attorney. Ask if they are with a company that gives members continuing education and resources that holds them to a code of ethics.
  • Get information about free tax help.
    • Call First Call at 211 or the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.
    • For seniors, call AARP at 1-888-227-7669 for a location near you.

The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic of Legal Services Alabama


It's a free call.

Reviewed January 2021

Prepared with the assistance of the Tennessee Taxpayer Project Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.

AlabamaLegalHelp.org offers legal information, not legal advice. We try hard to make sure this website accurately explains your rights and options. However, the site does not apply the law to your personal facts. For this sort of legal advice, you should call a lawyer. To apply for free legal services in Alabama, call the Legal Services Alabama office that is closest to where you live OR call toll-free 1-866-456-4995. You can also apply online at intake.alsp.org.

Avoiding Tax Season Scams

Last Review and Update: Jan 18, 2021
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