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Monday February 19, 2018

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Tax Professionals and IRS Refund Delays

In the middle of the peak IRS tax filing season, the Service published suggestions for selecting a qualified tax preparer. It also explained why many tax refunds are delayed this year.

In IR 2017-48 the Service offered tax tips on selecting your tax preparer. Professional tax preparers are expected to file 75 million of the anticipated 150 million tax returns this year. Tax tips on selecting your preparer are available at

1. Ethical – Be careful to select a qualified preparer. Your tax preparer should have a good reputation in the community. You will be releasing your income, investments, assets and Social Security number to this person.

2. Your Tax Review – When you review your return, your tax preparer should explain the basic tax provisions. You must be able to review the return and ask questions before signing it.

3. Preparer Signatures – Your paid tax preparer is required to sign the return. He or she must also include a Preparer Tax Information Number (PTIN).

4. Refunds – Do not sign a blank tax return. A tax preparer may fill out the return and direct the refund to his or her personal checking account. You should check that your bank account is properly listed so that you receive your tax refund.

The IRS also reported refund delays. For the week of February 24, there was an 11% decrease in refunds issued compared with last year.

Because Congress mandated no refunds before February 15 for taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit, many taxpayers are waiting to file. Mark Steber is the principal tax officer for a major tax filing service. He stated, "It has certainly been a slower start to tax season. Everybody is down. You don't get your refund as fast, so taxpayers do not come in to file."

Editor's Note: Because many taxpayers know that their refund is delayed until March, they are choosing to file later this year. It is now likely that March and April will be a very busy time for both tax preparers and the IRS. If you qualify for a refund, it is best to proceed to file as promptly as possible.

Published March 3, 2017
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