If your tax has become too complicated for you to handle, you should consider professional tax help. You may also consider tax help if you do not have time to file your taxes yourself. If your tax situation is simple then you can get by with a commercial tax preparer. However, if your tax is complex, you should consider an enrolled agent. This is a licensed tax professional. Enrolled agents are authorized to represent you before the tax collector in case of an audit.
A CPA is licensed and must pass the uniform certified public accountant exam. If you want tax planning, preparation and other services, then it is good to consider a CPA. This might be the professional to consider if you need all-year-round tax help. You can also choose an accredited tax preparer or adviser. However, tax advisers also handle more complicated tasks like estate planning.
Other professionals can help you with filing your tax. Choosing the right type of preparer is very easy. However, finding the right person to do the job can be tough. If you are thinking about getting the help of a professional preparer for the first time, then there are a few things you have to consider.
- Get referrals
You can ask your family members, friends, and colleagues whether they can recommend bookkeeping & accounting services. If you are new to this area then you can check online for more information about the tax preparer after getting a referral. You can narrow down your list to two or three candidates to then call for an interview.
- Interview candidates
It might be difficult finding someone who can give you time at their office for an interview if you are trying to hire a tax professional during the tax season. However, most preparers should have enough time for phone call interviews. If they are not willing to give you some time for this, then you should consider looking elsewhere. You need someone who can listen to you and hear what you need to say.
When interviewing your tax preparer, ask him or her to tell you how long they have been in practice, their credentials, whether they have any specialties, their charges, whether they have room for a new client, and whether they will handle your tax return or hand it off to an associate.
- Watch out for the red flags
You should steer clear of any tax preparer who talks about cheating the tax collector. You should also stay away from a preparer who urges you to take questionable deductions and tells you that you do not have to report certain income. You don’t want to end up with someone who uses shortcuts that could get you into strife with the Tax Department.
Mention any special circumstances
When outsourcing tax help, you should let the tax preparer know about events such as large lump sum payments from a retirement plan, a recent divorce, and other things that could affect your situation.
Written by Mark Potter