Tax service recommends looking up CPA before meeting

TOPKEA (KSNT) – Tax season may be a little longer this year, but professionals are warning taxpayers what to look for when finding someone to help.

On the Internal Revenue Service’s website, they suggest looking at credentials and histories before deciding.

“Ask the Better Business Bureau about the preparer,” the site said. “Check for disciplinary actions and the license status for credentialed preparers.”

One local accountant knows even more.

“They’ll have a P-10,” Peggy Beasterfeld said. “They’l have some accreditation. Now, I’m an enrolled agent which means I’ve gone way farther than that.”

As an enrolled agent, Beasterfeld, has been authorized by the federal government to prepare taxes with specific knowledge.

Beasterfeld, owner of Peggy’s Tax and Accounting on S.E. 29th Street, also wants taxpayer to ask about service fees and inquire about having the preparing help file the return online.

“Get everything ready early,” she said. “Even if you think you’re going to owe, bring it in early.”

For the IRS, they said taxpayers should we wary if the preparer asks them to sign a blank return.

If filing on your own is the way you’re going to go, the IRS also has instructions and approved forms on their website.

For the 1040 form, there are more than 100 pages of instructions.

However, if you’re still looking for help, the state may have an answer.

“What they do is they have sites throughout the state where IRS trained volunteers will help people who meet a certain income requirement file they’re tax returns electronically,” said Jeannine Koranda, the Department of Revenue’s Director of Communications.

She is talking about a program that the state has been offering for several years but started again this year on Jan. 25th. The program runs through April 15th and is free to people in Kansas with a yearly income of less than $51,000.

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