Tax-prep complaints adding up, BBB says

The deadline to pay property taxes is January 31.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Better Business Bureau says there’s a rise in tax preparation complaints over the last three years.

According to the BBB, in 2013 they received nearly 4,000 complaints that included tax preparer-made errors that resulted in fines or fees. Other complaints allege customer service, billing, and contract issues.

This is also a busy time for identity thieves, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Identity theft during tax season occurs when someone uses another person’s Social Security number and personal information to file a tax refund, and this accounts for 40 percent of all identity theft complaints.

When searching for a tax preparer, the BBB recommends:

  • Get referrals from friends and family and check the BBB Business Review of the tax preparation service you plan to use.
  • Make sure your tax preparer is either a certified public accountant, a tax attorney or an enrolled agent.
  • Avoid any tax preparer who bases their fee on a percentage of the refund, and be wary of promises for larger refunds than the competition.
  • Make sure you’re able to contact your tax preparer at any time of the year – many tax preparation services set up shop for the months leading up to April 15.
  • Read the contract carefully

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