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Looking for a Last-Minute Tax Preparer? 3 Questions to Ask Up Front

April 15 is almost here, and many people are finding they need help with their taxes. But in the rush to find last-minute tax preparation advice, it's important to protect yourself from disreputable people masquerading as experts.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, gives three questions that you should ask any potential tax preparer. Dan notes that the first thing to know is how much tax preparation services will cost, which sounds simple but can get complicated in a hurry because of hidden fees and other charges that take some work to discover. Second, ask how you'll get your refund, as some preparers arrange to have refunds come to them in order to try to deduct fees directly from your refund check before you necessarily see all the details of your bill. Finally, it's important to know what educational background your tax preparer has, as regulation of those who prepare taxes isn't as strict as it is for most other professions. Dan concludes that by being careful, you can still get the tax help you need.

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Dan Caplinger
TMFGalagan

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on Fool.com. With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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