Due diligence means doing your part to ensure tax returns are correct. As an IRS-certified volunteer, you must ensure the information on the return you are preparing or reviewing is correct and complete.
Doing your part includes:
- Confirming a taxpayer's (and spouse if applicable) identity
- Providing top-quality service by helping taxpayers understand and meet their tax responsibilities
- Making sure the facts presented by the taxpayer paint a reasonable picture
Generally you can rely on good faith for taxpayer information without requiring documentation as verification. However, you should exercise caution when taxpayers want to claim a refundable credit such as EITC or education credits, especially if these credits are maximized.
The top 4 things to remember about due diligence are:
- Do your part to ensure a tax return is correct.
- Question any unusual, inconsistent, or incomplete items.
- If you are unsure about a deduction or credit, make an effort to research the answer, or ask another certified volunteer for assistance.
- Remind taxpayers that when they sign their tax returns, they are stating under penalty of perjury that the return is accurate to the best of their knowledge.