I work hard to follow the best practices recommended by the IRS and other professional organizations. One recommendation is to have tax preparers and their clients sign a comprehensive engagement letter. The letter discusses my responsibilities for your tax return preparation and your responsibilities to provide the IRS and your local state tax authority with accurate tax returns. Here are the key points in the letter:
- I will prepare your Federal and state tax returns and the required schedules based on the information you supply me. I will not audit or otherwise verify the data you submit, although I may ask you to clarify some of the information. I will rely, without further verification, upon the information you provide to me from third parties including, but not limited to, W-2s, K-1s, 1099’s, 1098’s, receipts, and similar items.
- If you have taxable activity in a state other than your primary residence, you are responsible for providing me with all information necessary to prepare any other applicable state(s) income tax returns, as well as, informing me of the applicable states. If you have income tax filing requirements in another state but do not file that return, there could be possible adverse ramifications, such as an unlimited statute of limitations, penalties, etc. Let me know if you want me to investigate each state where you may have an income tax filing requirement.
- I will use my professional judgment in preparing your returns. I will explain the possible positions that may be taken on your return. I will adopt whatever position you request on your return if it is consistent with the codes, regulations, and interpretations published by tax authorities. If the IRS should later contest the position taken, there may be an assessment of additional tax plus interest and penalties. I assume no liability for any penalties or assessments.
- IRS and state tax regulations require that paid tax preparers must file returns using the IRS’ e-file system. As part of your return preparation cost, I will enable you to electronically sign your return and I will file the return electronically for you. If you prefer to file a paper copy of your return, I will print the return(s) for you and include Form 8948--Preparer's Explanation for Not Filing Electronically. You will be responsible for signing and mailing the returns to the IRS and state tax authorities.
- It is your responsibility to keep and store the documentation to support the data used in preparing your tax returns. This includes, but not limited to, the auto, travel, entertainment, and related expenses and the required documents to support charitable contributions over $250. If you have any questions as to the type of records required, please ask me for advice.
- It is also your responsibility to carefully examine and approve your completed tax returns before signing and sending them to the tax authorities.
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