It is not necessary to be affluent or to run a business in order to reap the benefits of working with a tax accountant. Maybe doing your own taxes is too stressful or complex for you, or you’re dealing with a tax-related issue, such as submitting back taxes, paying off a tax obligation, or defending yourself against an IRS tax audit.
Finding the correct accountant doesn’t have to be difficult if you know how to go about it. However, you’ll want to be certain that you select the right one for your specific requirements.
- When it comes to finding the best accountant to meet your needs, asking for referrals can be a wise decision.
- No one is legally permitted to receive payment for tax preparation services unless they have a preparer tax identification number (PTIN)
- Enrolled agents, certified public accountants (CPAs), and tax attorneys are all examples of legitimate tax professionals in the United States.
- Schedule a face-to-face meeting with the tax professional so that you can discuss your situation and ask any questions you may have before your first official visit.
How to find an affordable tax service?
Depending on their experience, some accountants are jacks of all crafts, while others specialise in specific areas. If you’re being audited, you don’t want to hire someone who has never worked on an audit before. However, if you’re looking into tax-advantaged savings options for your child’s education, you probably don’t need an audit expert to help you.
When it comes to finding someone who is a good fit for what you need, asking for referrals can be a good strategy. Inquire with company owners, financial advisers, and attorneys, but don’t forget about relatives and friends as sources of information. Because almost everyone files taxes, you should be able to locate a plethora of names in the database.
Whether there is anything uncommon about your circumstances, don’t be afraid to contact the company or the accountant to find out if they have the skills to handle your taxes.
Determine Legitimacy of Accountant
Precautions should be used when dealing with an accountant who promises you a large return straight away, before even doing a thorough analysis of your unique financial position. The same may be said for someone who claims that you can deduct an excessive quantity of costs before ever speaking with you in person about the matter.
You have the option of pulling the plug if required. If you are not content or comfortable with the service you are receiving, don’t be afraid to shop around or change accountants, even if you are in the middle of the procedure and the tax deadline is approaching. Form 4868, which should be submitted in lieu of Form 1040, can be used to request an extension of time to file your tax return, giving you more time to select the suitable professional.
Tax Preparer Options
Retail tax franchises such as H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, and Liberty Tax Service provide competent assistance if all you want to do is file a simple tax return with the IRS. At certain cases, certified public accountants (CPAs) and enrolled agents (EAs) might be found working in these establishments.
If you decide to utilise one of these affordable tax services, find out if you can meet with a CPA, an estate planning attorney, or a senior tax preparer. You’ll typically pay the same amount, but you’ll have the benefit of working with a more experienced professional.
Types of Tax Professionals
Agents who have been enrolled
Enrolled agents (EAs) are the elite of the elite, at least in terms of their qualifications with the Internal Revenue Service. They’ve completed a battery of tests and background checks given by the Internal Revenue Service. There are three stages to the testing.
EAs frequently specialise in certain tax areas, and they are the most qualified to deal with complicated tax circumstances. They can represent you before the Internal Revenue Service if you are the subject of an audit or collection action.
Certified Public Accountants
Certified public accountants (CPAs) are individuals who have passed the rigorous Uniform CPA Examination and have been licenced by the board of accountancy in the state in which they practise accounting. In addition to having accounting degrees from a university or institution, they must maintain their licences by satisfying specified character and experience benchmarks.
CPAs frequently specialise in areas of accounting that are unique to them. Some CPAs have a specialisation in tax accounting, although not all CPAs deal with tax matters. A certified public accountant (CPA) can also represent you before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if you are the subject of an audit or collection action.
Tax attorneys are attorneys who specialise in tax law, and they are licenced by state courts and state bar associations to practise in their respective jurisdictions. In addition to the needed juris doctorate degrees, they frequently hold master of law degrees in taxes as well.
Attorneys are the most qualified to handle complicated legal concerns such as completing estate tax returns or representing you in front of the United States Tax Court. They’re also subject to regulations for ongoing educational opportunities.
Yes, you are required to conduct an interview.
Even if it’s over the phone, set up an appointment with the expert so you can talk about your issue and ask some questions before your initial in-person meeting. Request references, just like you would from anybody you’re considering employing, and follow up with those references to ensure that they are accurate and reliable.
Be mindful of the fact that not everyone will feel comfortable conversing with you, and keep things basic. Simply said, “Are you satisfied with their services?” or “Have you ever had an issue with them?” are appropriate questions to ask. The responses to these questions may reveal a great deal about a person, especially if you stop talking after you ask them and let the other person to speak whatever comes to their mind.
Some Final Precautions
After your initial interview, run a brief background check to make sure everything is in order. In fact, you may look up the professional’s name on social networking platforms. Find out what they have to say about themselves on their own website, as well as what others have said about them.
Check with your state’s board of accountancy to see whether a CPA’s licence is still valid or if any disciplinary action has been taken against the accountant in the recent past. You can find out if an EA has ever been censured or subjected to any other disciplinary action by contacting the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility. It’s also a good idea to check with your local chamber of commerce for recommendations.
It is also important to remember that you, not your accountant, are ultimately accountable for the accuracy of the information contained in your tax return.