You are legally responsible for everything listed on your tax return even if you followed the advice of a tax return preparer. Most preparers are trustworthy and provide good service, but if you choose one who is not honest or is not properly trained, you could pay the consequences. This can include:
- Owing additional taxes, penalties, and interest for claiming incorrect credits or deductions;
- Receiving a smaller refund than you are due because of the preparer’s lack of knowledge about credits or deductions;
- Receiving your refund later because of mistakes on your tax return;
- Auditing your tax return to determine whether it is correct; or
- Owing more taxes, penalties, or interest, or getting a smaller refund than you should due to your preparer’s lack of knowledge.
In the worst case, choosing an untrustworthy tax preparer could make you a victim of fraud or misconduct. Read more about return preparer fraud or misconduct, how to recognize it, and how to protect yourself.
Attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents have unlimited representation rights and can represent any client before the IRS on any tax matter. Other tax return preparers may be limited in what they can do for you. For more information about limitations on preparers, see IRS Publication 5227, Annual Filing Season Program.