Tax return preparation is a complicated and lengthy process. That’s why so many people decide to hire a professional tax return preparer for assistance along the way. But how do you choose the right one?
Since you are the only one who is legally responsible for filing your proper and accurate tax return, it is imperative to choose a tax return preparer who is trained and qualified to offer you the assistance you need.
Here are some things to consider when making your decision.
Even though each tax return preparer has various degrees of training and certifications, there are certain qualifications you should inquire about before making your choice. For example, every tax return preparer is required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
Also, check if the preparer is an enrolled agent (EA) or a certified public accountant (CPA). While it is not legally required to have one of these certifications to become a tax return preparer, it will prove that they have been trained and are qualified to help you file your tax return.
Before giving someone your tax information, check to see if the tax return preparer in question has received any complaints from the Better Business Bureau. You can also find out if they have been disciplined for their accounting practices by contacting the state boards for certified public accountants, the IRS Office of Enrollment and the state bar associations for attorneys.
Additionally, consider asking the preparer about what type of continuing education they receive and how many years of experience they have doing tax returns. This will offer you the peace of mind of knowing that you are in good hands.
If you have an important question regarding your taxes, you want to be confident that it will be answered in a timely and truthful manner. Make sure your tax return preparer is easily accessible before, during and even after tax season.
Your tax return preparer will charge you according to the complexity of your tax return, along with the completeness of your records. These costs could include flat fees as well as hourly rates. Regardless of how simple or complicated your return is, don’t be lured in by a preparer who tries to charge you based on a percentage of your tax refund.
On top of considering all the criteria listed above, look out for these red flags when hiring a tax return preparer:
- They don’t offer an electronic filing option
- They don’t ask for your receipts or records
- You’re asked to sign a blank tax return
- They don’t include a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)
You should not, under any circumstances, hire a preparer if you notice any of these warning signs. A trustworthy and experienced tax return preparer will ensure that you are both following every requirement and legal obligation that is expected when filing taxes.
Tax Specialists You Can Trust
Ernst Wintter & Associates understands how stressful filing tax returns can be. But with a little help from the right professional, the process can be made quick and easy. Choose a tax return preparer you can trust, contact us today to find out more about our tax and accounting services.