How to Find the Right Tax Accountant
Having a tax accountant can benefit taxpayers of all time. Protect yourself and your hard-earned cash by following these simple steps to find the right professional for your situation, and some questions to ask.
Know exactly what you need your tax accountant to do. Here are some common situations:
- Preparing your own taxes is time-consuming, stressful, or confusing.
- You want to make sure your tax returns are accurate.
- Your tax situation is pretty complex, and you need specialized advice and tips.
- You would like to pay as little taxes as possible, and need detailed planning and advice.
- You are facing a tax problem, such as filing back taxes, paying off a tax debt, or fighting an IRS audit.
- You run a business, invest in the stock market, own rental property, or live outside the United States.
Finding Tax Accountants
Find a tax accountant that specializes in the area you require help.
Tips for finding the right professional who has the specialized tax expertise you need:
- Ask anyone who has a first hand experience because referrals are always the best. Ask your family, friends, business owners, financial advisors and attorneys. It will also best if you ask someone who has a similar tax situation to yours.
- Be careful with an accountant that promises big refunds or is saying you can deduct everything. Remember that it is you who has the ultimately responsibility for the information on your tax return and not the accountant.
- If you are not comfortable with your accountant, do not be afraid to shop around or to change.
- Tax preparers have different experiences; some are more experience than the others. You can sometimes find CPAs and Enrolled Agents working in these offices and prices will vary depends on how many tax forms need to be filled out.
- It is more often that local independent tax firms specialize in the tax needs of individuals and small businesses in their neighborhood. Remember that they have different experiences so ask if the firm has the expertise to handle your taxes.
- Enrolled Agents (EAs) are tax professionals who have passed a rigorous test and background check administered by the IRS. Enrolled agents often specialize and are best for complex tax situations.
- Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are accountants who have passed the rigorous CPA Exam and are licensed by the state they work in. CPAs will specialize in a specific area, like audits, tax, or business consulting. CPAs are best at complex accounting work, but not all CPAs handle tax issues.
- Tax attorneys are lawyers who have chosen to specialize in tax law. Often, tax attorneys will have a master of laws degree in taxation (LL.M.) in addition to the required juris doctor (J.D.) degree. Attorneys are best at complex legal matters, such as preparing estate tax returns or taking your case before the US Tax Cour
Questions to Ask a Tax Accountant
Say the only constant thing in this world is change and thi is also true in the tax industry, it is constantly changing and tax professionals are subject to various federal and state regulations.
Questions you can ask to help ensure you find an experienced, trustworthy tax accountant:
- How long have you been in the tax business?
- What tax issues do you specialize in?
- Do you have the knowledge and experience to handle my tax situation?
- What are your fees?
- Do you outsource any of your work? Do you perform the work personally? If not, what is the review process? Who signs the returns?
- How long, approximately, will it take to finish my taxes?
- Do you believe I'm paying too much, too little, or just the right amount of tax?
Make a quick background check after the interview. Phone your state's board of accountancy to check the status of a CPA's license, or to find out if any disciplinary action taken against the CPA. While for enrolled agents, you can ask the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility if an EA has been censured, disbarred or subjected to other disciplinary action.
How to Find the Right Tax Accountant