Posted by James Financial Services Inc

Essential Questions to Ask Your Tax Preparer

Essential Questions to Ask Your Tax Preparer

While many tax preparers are claiming to be perfect and ideal for you, it is essential to scrutinize them to get the ideal preparer for your needs. Tax preparers differ, and the best person for your friend might not be the most ideal for you.

You need to be willing to ask questions when it comes to choosing a tax preparer. As a result, here are some important questions to ask before selecting a tax preparer.


  1. Do you have a Preparer Tax Identification Number?

Anyone in the business of preparing a tax return for people needs to have a valid tax identification number. As a result, this is one of the most important questions to ask. A tax preparer without a PTIN is not authorized to prepare any return. 

Make sure you are aware of this and ask the question on time. In addition, there are PTIN qualifications that you can check by logging onto Uncle Sam's website for the PTIN directory.

  1. Have you prepared a particular tax return in the Past?

Many types of tax returns are not the same, and there is no one-size-fits-all. For example, while some tax preparers can complete 1040 half-awake, others are proficient with schedule C. In addition, they may focus on small businesses, expats, or even international taxpayers. 

Their expertise differs the same way there are many schedules and tax forms. However, tax preparers with ample experience will typically have a series of knowledge in various tax forms. Don't forget that no one preparer can handle all tax forms, which makes it important to look for one that can handle your specific case. 

  1. Are You Well-Versed in the requirements of the State Where I Need to File?

Federal income tax does not come with boundaries as the rules are the same from one state to another. This, however, is not true for states and localities as there could be unique filing requirements, especially for those with business.

Expect more complications if you already moved from a state to another during the tax year or your state of residence and work are not the same. Owning a business or real estate in another state also comes with unique tax requirements. Your preparer needs to be able to handle these special filing requirements.

  1. What determines the fee

This is not about asking what the fees will be, but what determines the fees. The price, most times, vary due to the complexity of your return, the presence of extra schedules like: 

  • interest and dividends on Schedule B

  • business information for schedule C

  • Losses and capital gains on Schedule D

  • Rental loss and income on Schedule E

While the fee for federal costs will be reduced, the presence of local and state returns will add extra cost. Also, be careful of preparers who base their fees on a percentage of your refunds.

  1. Will they be available if I have issues after the tax season?

Be wary of tax preparers that show up from nowhere when it's tax season and disappear after filing your tax. You might get a request from Uncle Sam for additional resources later in the year. As a result, be sure to know how to contact them should you need them. If they are not around, consider another company.

  1. Will there be any extra fees?

It is good to be on the same page with your tax preparer regarding any extra costs to avoid surprises down the line. As a result, when discussing fees, be sure to know if you will be charged for extra services. This includes the cost to fix any error or for electronic filing. 


While this is a pretty long list, it is important to be on the same page with your tax preparer. The answers to most of them are simple, and any reputable tax preparer will be willing to answer. 

To get the best tax preparer, you need to be willing to invest time and effort in research. Also, when you consider that you might likely enlist the service of a tax preparer every year, it makes sense to put in all effort to get a befitting one. 



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