5 Tips for Selecting a Tax Preparer for Your Business and Individual Needs

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Tax season has arrived. Have you decided on your tax preparation strategy for your business? How about for your individual needs? How will you ensure you remain in compliance with critical tax laws and regulations?

Enlisting the assistance of an experienced tax preparer can save you time and headaches – when you choose one who meets your needs. There are multiple factors to examine when making your selection, but the effort put in now can save you both time and money later!

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When choosing a tax preparer, keep these five tips in mind:

1. Check your tax preparer’s credentials, professional organization memberships, work history, and qualifications.

Any person who accepts money for tax preparation services needs to have a preparer tax identification number, or PTIN. Ask for your preparer’s number, and ensure they list it on your tax return, as the IRS requires it.

While the PTIN is important, it isn’t the only qualification you should require. Look for further credentials, such as a certified public accountant (CPA), an enrolled agent (EA), or a licensed attorney with experience in taxes. You can also look for tax professionals who have finished the IRS’s Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP)

2. Learn about your preparer’s background and memberships in professional organizations.

A simple background and reputation check can prevent you from enlisting the services of a tax preparer with bad reviews or a shaky work history. Check sites such as Google, the Better Business Bureau, or other popular review aggregators. You can also verify your preparer’s credentials using sites such as your state’s Board of Accountancy or the state bar association.

Inquire about your preparer’s membership in any professional organizations, such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), or the National Society of Enrolled Agents (NAEA). You can even inquire with these organizations or others like them to help you find preparers who will meet your needs.

3. Understand your potential tax preparer’s fees and process.

It’s important to know what your tax preparer charges, as well as how those costs are assessed. Many tax preparation professionals charge small fees and assess additional costs based on how elaborate your return is. Others choose a flat fee for every schedule or form necessary. Any tax preparer who charges a fee based on the size of your refund or who promises a bigger tax refund than others, should set off warning bells in your mind.

You will want a professional who will sign a client’s tax return while also providing their PTIN. (And never sign a blank return yourself! It can lead to an unscrupulous preparer taking your return for themselves.) You will also want to think twice about any preparer who doesn’t e-file returns. Paid preparers who file more than 11 returns for clients are required to file electronically. A tax professional who doesn’t offer this service can indicate someone who is lying about how many taxes they prepare.

4. Confirm your tax preparer’s usefulness and availability, even after tax season.

Tax preparation professionals with the proper credentials, such as CPAs, Enrolled Agents or attorneys who also have a PTIN, can be powerful allies should you undergo an audit, or experience collection or other tax-related issues. Those who only have a PTIN cannot, even if they were the ones who prepared your return.

You will want to choose a preparer who is available even after your taxes have been filed. You may. Have questions or concerns, and you will want someone happy to talk to you.

5. Choose a tax preparer who will work to meet your individual needs.

A reputable tax professional will ask for your records and receipts. They’ll request information to understand your income, your qualifications for deductions or expenses, and other important information. These items are vital to ensuring you stay compliant with tax laws, not to mention receiving the return you deserve.

If you find a tax preparer who will e-file your return in advance of receiving all vital paperwork, choose someone different. This type of early preparation goes against IRS rules.

Find Professional Tax Preparation Services You Can Count On at GO Admin Solutions

Ensure your taxes are done right, and done on time, by working with GO Admin Solutions! We look forward to partnering with you on tax preparation, tax strategies for the coming year, and more! Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.

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