We all know it is a tax season, one of the challenges is to find the right tax preparer. Here are some tips from our guest contributor Tom Mohr of Mohr & Associate.
Taxpayers of all types can benefit from hiring a tax accountant. But before you spend your hard-earned cash, here are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself, to find the right professional for your situation, and some questions to ask.
Understand Why You Need a Tax Accountant
You should take some time to focus on exactly what you need your tax accountant to do. Here are some common situations:
* Preparing your own taxes is time-consuming, stressful, or confusing.
* You want to make sure your tax returns are accurate.
* Your tax situation is pretty complex, and you need specialized advice and tips.
* You would like to pay as little taxes as possible, and need detailed planning and advice.
* You are facing a tax problem, such as filing back taxes, paying off a tax debt, or fighting an IRS audit.
* You run a business, invest in the stock market, own rental property, or live outside the United States.
Finding a Tax Accountant
You should find an experienced tax accountant who specializes in the areas you need help with. Here are some tips for finding the right professional who has the specialized tax expertise you need:
* Referrals are your best bet. Ask everyone you can think of: family, friends, business owners, financial advisors and attorneys. It will help to ask someone who has a similar tax situation to yours.
* Be wary of an accountant who promises you big refunds or that says you can deduct everything. You, not the accountant, are ultimately responsible for the information on your tax return.
* Do not be afraid to shop around or to change accountants if you are not comfortable. * Retail tax franchises such as H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, and Liberty Tax Service offer tax service for individuals who need to file relatively straight-forward tax returns. Some tax preparers in these offices will be more experienced than others.
* Local, independent tax firms often specialize in the tax needs of individuals and small businesses in their neighborhood. Again, some independent tax accountants will be more experienced than others.
Questions to Ask a Tax Accountant
The tax industry is constantly changing and tax professionals are subject to various federal and state regulations. Here are some questions you can ask to help ensure you find an experienced, trustworthy tax accountant:
* What licenses or designations do you have?
* How long have you been in the tax business?
* What tax issues do you specialize in?
* Do you have the knowledge and experience to handle my tax situation?
* What are your fees?
* Do you outsource any of your work? Do you perform the work personally? If not, what is the review process? Who signs the returns?
* How long, approximately, will it take to finish my taxes?
* Do you believe I’m paying too much, too little, or just the right amount of tax?
Tom Mohr can be contacted at www.mohrassociates.net