How to pick a tax preparation service – are you asking the right questions?

While most companies and individuals who prepare tax returns provide honest and responsible services, it is important to be careful when hiring someone to file on your behalf. If the Canada Revenue Agency detects a mistake or fraudulent information in your return, it is you who is responsible, not the person who prepared the return on your behalf.

Here are some tips to consider before choosing a company or individual to prepare your income tax return for 2016:

  • Select a company with a good reputation or someone who is properly trained. Ask how recently they took tax classes or if they have an accounting certification. You can also check the Better Business Bureau and Ontario’s Consumer Beware list for recent complaints. You should also consider whether that person or company will be around to offer support should CRA choose to audit you.
  • Stay away from companies that promise you instant money. In many cases, it is a loan you are required to pay back – with interest! You could end up having to pay back the “instant refund” and pay additional income tax to the CRA.
  • Provide receipts for all expenses claimed. Reliable tax preparation services will ask to see your paperwork – to help you avoid penalties, interest or additional taxes that could result from an audit.
  • Avoid anyone who suggests you lie or manipulate figures. You are legally responsible for what’s on your tax return even if it is prepared by someone else.
  • Never sign a blank tax form. Review the tax return before signing to make sure it is accurate and that you understand what you are submitting.

Free tax preparations clinics – Find out if you are eligible!

Community organizations host free tax preparation clinics for people with a simple tax situation and a modest income. To find out if you are eligible and where to locate a clinic near you visit
cra-arc.gc.ca/volunteer.

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One thought on “How to pick a tax preparation service – are you asking the right questions?

  1. My mother needs to pick a tax prep service and doesn’t know where to start. I will definitely tell her to choose a company that has a good reputation. The good reputation will mean that they will take care of my mother and make sure she has her taxes done properly.

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