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Posted by Pat Raskob

5 Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Tax Preparer

5 Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Tax Preparer

It's almost tax season, which means if you're a small business owner, or an individual looking for tax experts or accountants, you're probably looking for someone to help you make the most of your profits and possible losses. The point is that taxes are messy, and many of us don't know what to do when trying to manage them on our own. You can end up paying when you really shouldn't if you are trying to manage your taxes by yourself; or, conversely, the refund you should have received could be lost.

Fortunately, there are many professional tax preparers out there. The question is how to decide between one tax professional and another when they seem to offer the same tax services. This is what we are investigating today. Here are some things to look out for when choosing the right tax preparer for you.

Request their identification number

As mentioned above, there are many different tax firms in the market, and they seem to offer the same types of tax services. But you need to make sure you're working with someone legitimate before you start investigating them and their services. Therefore, when looking for a tax preparer, first ask for the tax identification number of your tax preparer. Anyone certified who provides tax compensation preparation services must have this number from the Internal Revenue Service. Tax volunteers do not need to have this number. If a tax preparer can't provide their identification number to look up and verify if they are legitimate, you should walk away.

Look for Accreditations

One thing is to get a tax preparer to show you their identification number, which is actually not that difficult to obtain. Another thing is to have the most advanced types of certifications and accreditations that tax preparers, such as certified public accountants, tax advisers, registered agents, or anyone who has completed the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP), will provide. You don't want to be simplistic about managing your tax services. Make sure the person you are working with can provide specific credentials. They will have taken a significant amount of education to get them to where they are and will have skills that would otherwise be hard to come by.

Compare the rates

Once you know that you are dealing with people who offer the same types of tax services and have the same or similar credentials, you can begin to compare their rates. Now, you don't have to choose a less qualified preparer just because they offer services for a lot less. But that doesn't mean that going with the person who earns the most will provide you with the best services. It would be best if you always considered hiring a tax preparer the same way you would hire a contractor for your home. Most tax preparers have a minimum fee that will cover basic training services and charge you more based on each form and what you need when filing. The more complicated your tax situation is, the more expensive the total service will be. Therefore, you need to ensure that you know the quoted rate and everything that can be added.

Check if they offer e-filing

If a tax preparer filed returns for more than ten clients, they must be filed electronically. If a tax preparer isn't offering e-filing services, they may not have all the experience you could think of, and you should reconsider your decision.

Make sure the preparer signs first.

As the IRS requires, you should make sure that the preparer signs your return and provides the preparer's tax identification number. Also, if they want you to sign an incomplete tax return, walk away. To steal your refund, they can put anything they want on a blank return, including their bank account number.

Final Word

Considering all of this, it can be a bit daunting to choose a tax professional, but the more careful you are, the easier it will be to choose the right professional for you.



Pat Raskob
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