Finance Blog

Stay financially savvy with the Equifax Advisor.

Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter


Thank you for signing up for the FREE Equifax monthly newsletter

In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.

Understand your credit. Help protect your identity.

Equifax Complete™ Premier Plan

  • Know What May Influence Your Credit Score and Be Alerted of Changes
    Credit score monitoring with custom alerts
    Important Disclosure: The Equifax credit score and 3-Bureau credit scores are based on an Equifax credit score model and are not the same scores used by 3rd parties to assess your creditworthiness.¹
  • Help Protect Your Identity
    Automatic fraud alerts encourages lenders to take extra steps to verify your identity²
  • Lock Your Credit
    The ability to lock and unlock your Equifax Credit Report³
Save 75% your first 30 days with the purchase of Equifax Complete™ Premier

$4.95 for the first 30 days, then $19.95 per month thereafter. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.4

¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.

²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.

³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.

4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.

Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.

6 Questions to Ask Your Tax Preparer

Written by Dustin Pellegrini on January 7, 2016 in Tax  |   5 comments

If you’ve decided that you will not be handling this year’s tax filing yourself, even with the help of an online filing program, there are plenty of professional tax preparers willing to do it for you. The challenge is finding someone you trust with your…

6QuestionstoaskyourtaxpreparerIf you’ve decided that you will not be handling this year’s tax filing yourself, even with the help of an online filing program, there are plenty of professional tax preparers willing to do it for you. The challenge is finding someone you trust with your finances and personal information.

A good first step is to “ask around to your friends and relatives about who prepares their taxes,” says Leslie Kotrba, a certified public accountant (CPA) at Palatine Tax & Accounting Inc. in Illinois. This may give you some options, but ensuring someone is reliable may take some extra work. The consequences of improperly filing your taxes, after all, can be serious. You should consider asking the following six basic but important questions to help determine whether or not to hire any potential preparer.

1. What are your credentials?
A professional tax preparer, such as a CPA or an enrolled agent, should have some certification. Preparers should have passed examinations and, in some cases, taken continuing education throughout the year to stay informed of current tax information. When meeting with a potential preparer, ask to see proof of certifications to be sure he or she is legitimate and capable of preparing your taxes.

2. What experience do you have?
According to Kotrba, another good question to ask potential preparers is about their experience. For example, how long have they been handling tax preparations? Do they typically work with individuals or companies? The more experience, the more helpful a preparer may be.

“Having someone who has the contacts and the knowledge of how to help you when you need help is critical,” Kotrba says.

3. Have you ever had an audit done on a return you prepared?
On the flip side of having lots of experience, Kotrba says you should ask specifically if the potential preparers have ever had any of their returns audited. The answer doesn’t have to eliminate them from your consideration, but this may help you decide whether your return is in good hands. It may also help you know whether the preparer can represent you in the event of an audit.

4. What are your fees?
If you picture your tax return as a nice mid-year bonus, you might balk at the idea of paying much for the preparation. Although you want to avoid excessive fees, professional preparers charge for their services, so ask them upfront about their prices and listen carefully to what they offer for that fee.

“If someone guarantees you a refund, run,” Kotrba says. If the preparer makes an offer that sounds too good to be true, this may be a red flag that you will want to take your return elsewhere.

5. How busy are you or will you be?
As the tax deadline approaches, preparers usually become much busier. While you can avoid this by finding a preparer well ahead of time, you can also ask about how the potential preparers handle their workloads.

“You want somebody who is going to take their time,” Kotrba says. The more time someone takes in preparing your taxes, the more confident you may feel in their performance.

6. Can I review my return beforehand?
Before your taxes are submitted to the state or federal government, you’ll want to review them to ensure all of the information is correct. Therefore, before hiring a preparer, ask if you’ll be given this opportunity.

“Ultimately, the preparer is on the hook for a bad return, but you are on the hook for the taxes,” Kotrba says. You will be held responsible for the outcome of your return, so you want to ask about how the preparer handles the review process. You want to make sure that you’ll have the chance to see your return before it’s filed.

Making your decision
Once you’ve evaluated several preparers, ask yourself with whom you would be most comfortable working. You want to be sure your preparer has the time to assist you, understands your concerns, and is “someone who doesn’t make you feel like you’re asking stupid questions,” Kotrba says.

Finding a reliable preparer may be the start of a business relationship that lasts for years, so do the work necessary to find someone you can trust. Otherwise, you may be adding extra stress to tax time.

Dustin Pellegrini is a senior web producer and writer at Think Glink Media, where he specializes in reporting on identity protection and credit. He studied writing and visual media at Columbia College Chicago.

Related Articles
Your Tax Checklist Six Months Ahead of Filing
Tips for Calculating What You Might Owe in Taxes
What To Do Now If You Can’t Pay Your Taxes in April

The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.


  1. Robert D says:

    A CPA is not a professional tax preparer. There are CPAs who are professional tax preparers – but the initials alone have nothing to do with preparing 1040s. Only the initials EA for Enrolled Agent identify a professional tax preparer.

  2. Ginger says:

    Interesting post!

  3. Amelia says:

    So what happens if you accidentally fill out ur w4 wrong claiming more than you should have an didn’t realize it was wrong til the end of the year when it was to late an no taxes for federal was withheld flute the whole year

  4. Anonymous says:

    Tax preparers charge too much like what happened to my last years, issued a check in the amount that she normally charges, reminded her to cash it on a specific date ( my pay gets in on that specified date and she cashed it, my bank slapped me with insufficiency twice, never paid me for the charges. I got nothing from Federal and State at all, served me a lesson!

Leave a Comment

Name :

Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Tax Archive