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BBB tax preparation advice

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The IRS announced that it will begin accepting 2012 tax returns on January 30, 2013.

"If you expect to get a refund, you are probably anxious to get your taxes done quickly," said BBB President Tom Bartholomy.

"We recommend that you do your homework so that you understand your options for getting your taxes done and the costs associated with the tax preparation method you choose," Bartholomy added.

The BBB has information about tax preparation options.

  • Do your taxes yourself – If your tax situation is not complicated, you may decide to do your taxes yourself. The IRS has all the forms and instructions you will need on their website.
  • Use a tax preparation software like Turbo Tax. This is a popular option chosen by millions of people. It is inexpensive, less time-consuming, user-friendly and includes the option to e-file. Turbo Tax is a product of Intuit, Inc. which is a BBB Accredited Business with an A+ rating. Consumers have filed 1,415 complaints with the BBB against Intuit, Inc. in the last 36 months, all of which have been resolved.
  • Use a local tax accountant. If your taxes are more complex, you may need to use an accountant. There are many well-qualified accountants in the Southern Piedmont area of NC and SC. Visit the BBB to find a BBB Accredited Accountant.
  • Use a tax preparation service. The BBB suggests that you do your homework to check out the tax preparation service before you contract with them or agree to a refund loan advance. Visit the BBB to find a BBB Accredited Tax Preparation Service.

 The BBB has information about some of the more well-known tax preparation services and their business practices:

  • H&R Block (BBB Grade A+) - H & R Block is a BBB Accredited Business and it is the largest and oldest tax preparation service in the country. H&R block provides e-filing and audit support and they will deduct the cost of the tax preparation and filing from your anticipated refund. Consumers have filed 618 complaints with the BBB against H&R Block in the last 36 months, but all of which have been resolved.
  • Liberty Tax Service - Liberty Tax Service is famous for having people dressed in Statue of Liberty costumes on street corners. Liberty Tax Service is a national company, but many of its franchise offices are locally owned. Some offices are BBB Accredited Businesses. Liberty Tax Service has multiple locations in the Southern Piedmont area of N.C. and S.C. and their individual BBB grades range from A to F. 

Last year, hundreds of consumers filed complaints against Instant Tax Service with the BBB and the N.C. Attorney General's office.  

"These complainants cited problems with refund delays, higher than expected tax return preparation fees, and refund checks being returned for insufficient funds," said Bartholomy.

The Attorney General obtained a court order against Instant Tax Service alleging violations of the N.C. Refund Anticipation Loan Act. This judgment permanently barred Instant Tax Service from filing income tax returns without the taxpayer's authorization and other stipulations. 

"The BBB has information on 59 tax preparation companies in our area," said Bartholomy. "If you plan to have your taxes done, find a reliable tax preparation service that you can trust at www.bbb.org."

For more information on tax-related issues, please visit BBB.

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