Next, let’s talk about who prepares your taxes. Did you know, anyone can be a paid tax return preparer, as long as they have an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). However, these PTIN preparers have differing levels of skills, education and expertise. Also, they may prepare your tax return, but they can’t represent you in audit or any inquiry by IRS, unless they prepared the return. You may pay more for an Enrolled Agent, CPA, or an Attorney, but it’s worth it in the long run. Their continuing education requirements can be invaluable. If you want, at irs.gov, there is a “Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications” where it can help you find preparers in our area who currently hold professional credentials recognized by the IRS, or who hold an Annual Filing Season Program Record Completion. You can also check with professional organizations where many tax preparers are members. It is your best interest to learn about your tax preparer’s credentials and qualifications before your appointment and make sure you’re comfortable to trust them to prepare your tax return. Remember, you are ultimately responsible for the return, not your preparer or friend. This is a very brief overview. For details and specific assistance in applying the general information in this article, call us at your earliest convenience or contact your tax advisor. Provided by Tracey C. Higginbotham, E.A., (321) 632-5726, a member of the National Society of Accountants.