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Getting your taxes done by a professional tax preparer can be a good alternative to doing your own taxes.

Ask your friends and business colleagues
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Getting first hand recommendations from friends and family is still one of the best ways to hire someone, and this is true for tax preparers, according to a statement by the National Society of Accountants. Ask people what like about their tax preparer and find out if the kind of returns that person does are similar to yours.

Interview three candidates
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Don't hire the first tax preparer you talk to. Interview three people, explain your tax situation and needs, and ask about their fees, approach, and billing arrangements, the NSA said in a statement. Look for preparer who asks you a lot of questions about your situation.

Check out Credentials
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A lot of credentials can be earned by tax preparers to validate their expertise. Find out which credentials your tax preparer has and take a look at them. Some high level tax preparer credentials include, Accredited Tax Preparer (ATP), Accredited Tax Adviser (ATA), and Certified Professional Accountant (CPA), according to the statement.

Look for longevity
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Getting a tax preparer who has been in the business for a long time and seems committed to the profession can help ensure the person will be available and in the business if the IRS should contact you in the future, according to the NSA statement. Experience in the profession counts.

Watch out for scams
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In any type of business, there there are some dishonest tax preparers, according to the NSA statement. Beware of tax preparers who offer to do your tax return for portion of your refund, those who refuse to sign the return they prepared or include their PTIN, or someone who tries to get you to sign a blank return.

Use online resources
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There are a lot of online resources that can help you find qualified tax preparers. NSA represents "Main Street" accountants and professional tax preparers who serve small businesses and individuals, and has a searchable database online at www.nsacct.org