Hiring a tax accountant can be very useful for anyone that has to pay tax. However, it is important that you find the right accountant for you and this guide can help you do that by advising you about the type of questions that you need to ask.
Why Do You Need A Tax Accountant
There are some common situations where you might need to hire a tax accountant.
– It can be stressful trying to complete your taxes yourself and also very time-consuming.
– You want to make sure that all the information on the return is accurate.
– You have a complicated situation, and you would prefer to have expert advice.
– You want to have a plan in place that will allow you to pay as little taxes as possible.
– There is a problem with your taxes such as needing to file taxes for previous years or you owe money for taxes.
– You need to submit taxes for your business, or you invest in the stock market or own a rental property.
Finding The Right Accountant
You will want to choose an accountant that is experienced in handling situations that are similar to your own. It is important that you make the right decision as it will be you that is responsible for the information that is included in your tax return even if your accountant has helped you complete it. The following tips can help you find the right accountant.
– If you know someone that has a similar tax situation to you, then you could ask them for a referral.
– Be aware of accountants that promise to be able to deduct everything as this is something that is likely to be unachievable.
– Spend some time shopping around and remember that you can always change accountants later if you are not happy.
– If your tax return is relatively straightforward, then you may be able to use the services of a retail tax franchise. CPA’s sometimes work at these offices and they can be used at no extra cost as the amount charged will be based on the number of pages that have to be filled in.
– There may be independent tax firms in your local area that you would prefer to use, but you should always make sure that they have the relevant expertise.
There are different types of tax accountants that you can hire.
Enrolled Agents – These are accountants that have undergone testing and have been background checked by the IRS. These accountants can usually help if you have a very complex case and they can represent you in any issues with the IRS.
Certified Public Accountants – CPAs are licensed by the state that they work in, and this license is only given on the passing of several exams. Not all CPAs will deal with tax issues, so this is something that you will need to check. A CPA can also represent you when you are dealing with the IRS.
Tax Attorneys – Tax attorneys will have chosen tax as their specialist field and will have qualifications in this area of law. If your tax issues are complex and involve the US Tax Court, then it is likely you will need the specialist advice of a tax attorney.
The type of accountant that you will hire is likely to depend on your particular circumstances. There are some important questions that you need to ask before you sign a contract with a particular accountant to make sure that they are trustworthy and can carry out the work that you want them to.
– What licenses do you hold?
– How many years have you been practicing?
– What are your particular specialties with regards to tax?
– What experience do you have with issues like mine?
– Can you give a breakdown of fees and charges?
– Is any of your work outsourced and if so how is it reviewed and who is responsible for signing the return?
– What will be the timescale for working on my taxes?
– What is your opinion about the amount of tax that I am paying at the moment?
The views on the US tax system will vary between accountants, and they will all have very different backgrounds. The most important thing for you is to find an accountant that specializes in the areas that you need help with and who can help you reduce the amount of tax that you have to pay.
Once you have decided on an accountant, it would not hurt to carry out your background check. The state will have information about CPAs, including whether they have ever been subject to any disciplinary action. The IRS Office of Professional Responsibility will have similar information about Enrolled Agents.