Tax season is upon us. Do you expect to pay Uncle Sam or are you getting a refund? Either way, the right tax preparer can make all the difference. Tax preparers need to be on top of changing laws and any guidance issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You will need to determine the type of tax preparer you require. You want to make sure whoever you hire has the right experience for your needs, and because the price to file taxes can vary greatly, you want to choose someone you can afford.
Check IRS Tax Preparer Certification
If a person has a tax identification number, they can do the job. But you should really find someone that can take care of audits, IRS collections, and appeals. You can turn to the IRS’s Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers to find tax pros with credentials and specific qualifications. Tax preparers that attend continuing education classes are a good choice. You can also get an idea about a tax preparer by reading online reviews.
Look for an Established Tax Professional
You can feel good about a tax preparer if they have at least seven to 10 years of experience. The more experience they have, the more likely they have dealt with all sorts of tax situations. They have also dealt with laws that come and go. Tax preparers that are open all year are also beneficial because letters from the IRS can arrive at any time and you may need help.
Choose a Tax Return Preparer that has Clients Like You
You may have specific needs that must to be addressed. Find a preparer that handles situation like yours to get the best service possible. Get recommendations from those you trust and keep in mind that tax laws are subject to interpretation. Find a preparer that will explore all the options instead of assuming there aren’t any deductions.
Tax Return Preparation Quote
Many tax preparers will tell you they can’t give you a quote until they determine which forms you need. Bring your previous tax return so you can get a list of fees and get an idea of how much it will cost. You should avoid preparers that base their fee on a percentage of your refund because this is a violation of IRS rules.
Pick a Tax Preparer with the Future in Mind
Tax season ends April 15. Hire a tax preparer that will plan for tax savings for the rest of the year and years to come. There are situations where preparers will try and get you the biggest refund for the current year, but it will end up costing you down the round. For example, they may recommend you only contribute pretax income to a traditional 401(k) to lower your taxes now, but putting some of those contributions, post-tax, into a Roth 4109(k) can be beneficial if tax rates should rise in the future.