Choosing a Tax Return Preparer

Citizens in various countries across the world play an active role in building their nations, by contributing towards tax revenue base. Tax is a compulsory contribution to state revenue and can be contributed in various ways.

Individuals who are registered for income tax are liable to submit tax returns. There is the option of doing this on your own, or of hiring a tax preparer.

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A tax return preparer is a person who provides advice about the application of the Tax Act or who completes or assists with the completion of a return by another person. Tax preparers are required to be registered with a Recognised Controlling Body (RCB) as well the South African Revenue Services (SARS). It’s vital to do the necessary checks prior to acquiring the services of a tax return preparer. Here’s what you need to do:

Check credentials and qualifications
You can ask your tax preparer for their SARS and Controlling Body registration details. You can then verify their details on the SARS website, using their Tax Practitioner number. Ask if the preparer attends continuing educational courses.

Check history
Check the practitioners’ experience with other clients as well as their licence status with SARS.

Find out about service fees
Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund.

Ask about electronic eFiling options
Ensure that your preparer offers SARS eFiling.

Make sure you can contact your preparer
Ensure that you are able to contact your preparer even after filing your return.

Provide all documents and records needed for the return
Reputable preparers will ask you multiple relevant questions and request to see your records and receipts.

Never sign a blank return
Do not sign a blank tax form. Avoid preparers who request this of you.

Review the entire return before signing it for approval
Ask questions before signing. Make sure you understand before signing. Remember you are responsible for making sure the information is correct.

Check that the preparer signs the forms and includes his/her tax identification number
A Tax Practitioner number is required by law. Preparers are required to be registered with an RCB.

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