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NYS Tax Commissioner: 4 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Tax Preparer 7 million New Yorkers hire tax preparers; ensure your preparer is ethical and qualified

For Release: Immediate,

For press inquiries only, contact: James Gazzale, 518-457-7377

Are you thinking about hiring a tax preparer to complete your personal income tax return?  Acting New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Nonie Manion today provided consumer protection tips for taxpayers who decide to do so.

Approximately 70 percent of the state's 10 million income taxpayers hire tax preparers. 

"Filing a return is often the most important financial transaction of the entire year for many taxpayers," Commissioner Manion said.  "Don't be shy, ask for recommendations when selecting a tax preparer, shop around, deal with someone you know to be a trustworthy advisor."

New York is just one of four states nationwide to regulate tax return preparers. More than 40,000 preparers have registered with NYS. 

In an effort to make sure your tax return is accurate and complete, Commissioner Manion suggested asking the preparer these four questions:

  • Are you registered with the IRS and New York State? Most tax preparers are required to be registered both with the IRS and NYS. (Learn how to verify a tax preparer)
  • How much will it cost? Ask to see a list of fees. The fee should be directly related to the services provided, and not the refund amount. Also, by law preparers cannot charge to e-file in NYS.
  • How will I receive my refund? A refund should never be deposited into a preparer's bank account. The fastest and safest way to receive your refund is to have it directly deposited into your bank account. Taxpayers without a bank account should consider getting their refund on a debit card.
  • Will you sign the return? A completed tax return must be signed by both the taxpayer and the preparer. Preparers also must include their federal tax ID (known as a PTIN) and either their NYS registration number or an exclusion code.

If you're aware of a tax preparer who has engaged in illegal or improper conduct, contact the New York State Tax Department at (518) 530-HELP or file a tax preparer complaint online

The deadline to file your tax return is April 15. 

Related information
The Consumer Bill of Rights Regarding Tax Preparers (available in several languages) contains information about how taxpayers can protect themselves from unfair practices.