How to Find the Right Accountant
Are there any quality tax services near me? Who provides professional tax preparation near me?
If you are asking yourself these questions, then you should know that seeking the services of the right accountant is no different than searching for other types of professional services. You need to shop around. However, before you begin your search, you should know that your choice should be based on your reasons for needing an accountant:
- The IRS has selected you for an audit, and you need the advice of a tax professional.
- You have a complicated tax situation, own various stocks, have rental property or operate a small business.
- You want to ensure that your tax forms are completed correctly.
- You view tax preparation as confusing and nerve-racking.
- You want to make sure that you are able to take all of the deductions and credits for which you qualify.
Get Some Referrals
One of the most effective ways of finding an accountant is asking someone you know. Referrals from people you trust, such as family members, friends or close business associates, can help your search. If you are self-employed or own a small business, you may also try getting referrals at local business events or from small business organizations.
What are Your Options?
- CPAs. A certified public accountant is someone who has passed the CPA exam and is licensed by their state to practice accounting. CPAs have many accounting specializations, one of which is tax accounting. Their tax services can include filing returns and representation before the IRS.
- Tax Attorneys. Attorneys who specialize in tax law can assist you if you are the subject of an IRS criminal investigation, have committed tax fraud or you want to bring a case before the United States Tax Court.
- Tax Franchise Companies. The cost of the tax preparation services provided by these companies, which include Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block, will be determined by how many tax forms have to be completed.
- Enrolled Agents. These individuals specialize in certain tax issues and can be a taxpayer’s representative during IRS procedures. They have to pass extensive testing and a background check conducted by the IRS.
- Local Accounting Firms. These businesses provide tax services for individuals and small businesses within or near their locale. They may also provide bookkeeping and payroll services.
The Right Questions to Ask
When you have compiled a list of names, it is time to vet your candidates, even if they were referrals. Some examples of important questions include:
- How much do you charge and exactly what do the fees cover?
- What kind of accounting or tax-related licenses or certifications do you have?
- How long will it take you to complete my taxes?
- How long have you been a part of the tax industry?
- Do you have any experience handling my particular tax situation? What were the results?
- Do you specialize in certain tax issues?
The factors surrounding each tax situation are different and can require someone with a certain type of accounting experience. Keep in mind that you are looking for an accountant who can be entrusted with your personal information as well as provide you with sound financial advice. Whether you need the services of a tax accountant or an experienced bookkeeper, a careful search will aid in locating the right professional for you.