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So, I had a less than pleasant experience with my tax preparer this year. He had a resume that was impressive, MBA and a Juris Doctor from a couple of decent universities. He practices tax law, I looked him up on the state bar website and he does taxes focusing on people in my field of work (which he also works within, the law practice seems to be a side gig). So I go into this thinking my taxes will be done quickly and correctly. On the 8th draft they were finally correct. Error after error kept rolling in on each draft; no 8606 for a IRA to Roth conversion, adding the conversion as taxable income, not filling out deductions I sent records for, the list goes on. I went through each draft with a fine toothed comb and I just kept finding things that looked incorrect. I would go do my due diligence and reply with my concerns. He would change the mistake and send the next draft and on and on. A real flag was raised when he said he'd never done a IRA conversion before, so didn't know the forms involved (google it?).

So my lessons learned;

1- A resume and a law degree doesn't mean the person is well versed in personal taxes
2- Do your due dilegence

My questions

1-What exactly is required to get a PTIN? A quick course from H&R Block or an online course? I'm assuming this guy got his because he practices tax law.
2-What liability does the individual preparing the tax bear? Does he have to defend my return before the IRS should they ask?
3-Are there varying levels of who can sign for taxes, be it an EA or CPA and does one or the other have a particular greater burden when preparing taxes?

Thanks for any info!

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