Update: This article was last updated on 18th June 2020 to reflect the accuracy and up-to-date information on the page.
Series of tax reforms, new restrictions on deductions, and ever-changing tax laws can confuse you during the already busy tax season. If you need the help of a professional, you’re not alone.
According to the IRS, more than half of taxpayers prefer to hire a professional tax preparer. However, it is imperative that you are careful in selecting your tax preparer, trusting him or her with your most personal information. Do thorough research on tax preparer as you would for any service provider.
Asking questions beforehand would be worth the time it takes to ensure that you are hiring someone with the experience and skill level you need at a price you can pay for. The infographic below suggests top questions you must ask a tax preparer before selecting one in this tax season.
Let’s explore in detail.
- What is your expertise and industry knowledge of my business? – This is the most important question to ask your tax preparer about what certifications they hold and for how much time they are in the tax industry. A competent tax preparer should not only be up to date with the new tax laws but should also have a proper experience.
- Do you have your PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number)? – Anyone who is preparing federal tax returns must have a valid PTIN. Without this Identification Number, the tax preparer is not allowed to prepare returns.
- How Do You Determine Your Fees? – It would be helpful in the future if you ask the tax preparer how they will charge you. Avoid tax preparers who charge fees based on the percentage of the refund received.
- How Much of Your Time Can We Reasonably Expect? – You should ask your tax preparer about the amount of time he or she is willing to give you if you have any questions as the tax preparers are generally very busy during the tax season.
- What Services Other Than Taxes Do You Offer? – You should ask your tax preparer what services other than tax filing they will offer. For instance, if you need suggestions on financial planning or investments, will they help you?
- Can you file tax returns electronically? – As the tax preparer will be filing tax returns of many clients, so it is suggested that you should select the tax preparer who will file taxes electronically. Electronic tax filing is safe and also reduces the chances of a mathematical error.
- Where will my refund be deposited? – You should be sure that the refund will be deposited to your account only. If the preparer wants to deposit the refund in their account, then you need to be careful.
- When will I get a copy of my return? – You may require the documents from this year in the coming years, so you should ask your tax preparer when you will receive a copy of that return.
- When will you finish my return? – It would be best if you ask the tax preparer that when they will complete your return because sometimes, due to a large number of clients, the tax preparer could forget to file taxes before the deadline.
- What happens if I get audited? – You should ask your tax preparer – will they assist if you get audited? Make sure that the tax preparer is ready to represent you in front of the IRS in the case of any issue.
Choosing the Right Tax Preparer Is Essential
No matter who helps you file your returns, you are legally responsible for all the information on your return. While most professionals offer outstanding service, the IRS receives a report of taxpayers’ fraud every year.
Tax preparers or CPAs are more than just numbers crunchers. They are also a business advisor who would help you with preparing taxes and also provide you suggestions on how to make the most of your tax deductions by demonstrating how various legal structures can save your time and money for your business.
Choosing a tax preparer may require a lot of research and effort, but it’s worth it. Once you find a tax preparer who you can trust with your taxes, you can work peacefully. You may feel conscious about asking so many questions from the tax preparer, but a good tax preparer will never mind answering any of the above questions.
Do you any other important questions that should be asked to the tax professional? Please mention them in the comments section below. You can also share this infographic using the embedded code given below.
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