When finding a tax preparer, look for IRS backing - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

When finding a tax preparer, look for IRS backing

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JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - As the deadline to file your taxes inches closer, a new study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office showed even the professionals can make mistakes.

The organization randomly selected 19 tax preparers and found significant errors in their work. Only two out of the 19 preparers calculated the correct amount.

"We just have a lot of paper work that we have to get together, and we try throughout the year to keep it all organized," said Laura Gentry of Jackson.

Gentry said filing their taxes can be complicated since her husband is self-employed. She said that’s why they use a certified public accountant.

"Come tax time we have it in a folder and we give it to him, and that's literally it," said Gentry.

Gentry met with Jerry Husky, a CPA in Jackson.

Husky said filing your taxes can be difficult since each person has a different tax situation.

"Instead of just following a recipe, that says here's what you put in, we have to think about what happened, think about what the law said, and apply to law as best as we know it to the tax situation," said Husky.

So how do you know if your tax preparer is getting it right?

Gentry and her husband have been going to Husky for about six years.

"A friend of ours told us about him," said Gentry.

According to Jim Hillen, a CPA in Cape Girardeau, that’s one of the important things, find a tax preparer you know.

"I completely trust them and what they do because we've been using them for so long and everything has turned out really well," said Gentry.

In the 2011 tax year, paid preparers completed more than half of almost 150 million individual tax returns.

But not everyone can be as helpful as Husky. While many preparers are backed by the IRS, or hold a CAP license from the state, the government study shows more than 50 percent don’t hold that credential.

Husky said it’s important to find someone who stays up to date with current tax law for best results.

"It’s hard for us too, we've done this for 30 some years, and my wife and I have learned something new every day," said Husky.

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