During tax season, about 33% of people will hire a tax professional to help them with their tax paperwork starting in February. But the majority of us don’t know much about them and hire based on ads or because a friend recommended them.
How do you know your hiring the best CPA for your tax returns?
Did you know almost 80% of people who use tax preparers don’t do proper vetting on credentials? How do you know you’re getting the right person for your tax needs?
There are some credentials you should train yourself to look for when it comes to hiring a CPA for tax season. There are also some questions you should remember to ask up front before you sign any paperwork. There are also best practices you’ll want to vet for including e-filing and guarantees to protect you from mistakes or potential blowback for missing documents.
Here are some things you want to check on while looking to hire a CPA.
Ask for Their ID
The IRS requires everyone who prepares taxes for others to have a designated PTIN–assuming they do this on a salary and are not a for-hire, volunteer tax preparer. Ask for this number right up front to ensure your preparer is properly qualified and in good standing. Throughout the process, make sure they put their PTIN on the documents, as they are required to do.
Check the Fees
Paying fees to have your taxes prepared for you is part of the process but not all fees are created equal. Compare the fees between preparers and compare their level of work and credentials. You may find yourself being overcharged for less work than you would be with someone else. It’s also good to note that legitimate tax preparers tend to charge by the hour so anyone charging you based on the size of your return or claiming they can get you a better return are scams.
Make Sure They E-File
It is IRS policy that a tax preparer who is filing 10 or more returns for a client do so electronically. So, if your preparer isn’t filing electronically it could be a sign they’re not doing as much work as they should be or are ill-prepared to take on your tax return needs.
How Do I Stay Protected if There’s a Problem?
CPA’s who are accredited are legally able to represent you to the IRS if issues or audits come up. A preparer who is not an agent cannot do this for you. So, make sure you’re protected with a properly qualified CPA with a credible PTIN.
Are Their Organizations I Should Look At?
There are a few different organizations you can look at for your CPA to have membership in: National Association of Tax Professionals, the National Association of Enrolled Agents, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, or the American Academy of Attorney CPAs. This isn’t a requirement, but membership to these organizations is a good sign.
As tax season comes and goes, you don’t need to let it scare you. An accredited CPA can take the stress away from you, do your research and find out what you need to get started.
If you are looking for a trusted and experienced CPA and Tax Firm in the Canton area, Tax Avenger is among the best. With more than 18 years of experience in accounting and taxation both locally and internationally, our commitment to exceptional customer service ensures you are in good hands.
We provide efficient, cost-effective accounting and tax services including, business accounting services, individual tax preparation, financial and tax consulting to payroll services, and so much more. Call us for a Free Consultation!