Tax Tips: How To Choose A Tax Preparer

Finding the professional best suited to your taxes needs isn't easy. Information on factors, methods, requirements.

Tax is a reason to cringe for many people. The forms are complicated and the instructions are too much to comprehend to some. Doing your taxes yourself can be a big headache even with one of the software programs designed to do your taxes for you. In order to use them you must have a computer and then how do you know if it is done right? Sure you can follow the instructions but did you really take all the deductions you were entitled to? Or did you take something that you are not entitled to? How about income, is it all shown correctly?

With all these worries looming over their heads, many people decide it just isn't worth the risk and they chose to pay a professional tax preparer to do them for them. They are the experts in their field, so they should know the laws better than we would, right? Unfortunately, tax preparers vary greatly from one to the other sometimes. The variations are not only in the level of expertise, but also in the services they offer and the cost of their services.

Don't just go to the first tax preparer that you find and trust them with your income tax return. Take the time to find out which one is the best for you. Many are very well trained and very professional. But as with any profession, the level of quality and services vary from one to another.



The problem is in determining which tax preparer is best for you. You will find that you may have several options to choose from. Some individuals prepare taxes from their home for those that they know or their particular neighborhood. Some work at small offices just during tax season and more more interested in filing electronically. Some work in a franchise type office and offer a range of services. Still others work in year round accounting offices and do either tax return for their normal clients during normal business hours or offer extra services during tax season only.

The first step in finding the right tax preparer is in determining what your tax preparer needs are. Do you need someone that can help you year round or just to prepare your tax return? Do you need someone that can help you determine what you have to deduct or what types of income must be reported? Or do you prepare your own return and just want someone to file it electronically for you?

Regardless of how much you know about taxes, you could still benefit from making a few calls and asking a few questions. There are several things that you may want to consider asking a tax return preparer when making the decision on who to use. To give you an idea of some of the more important considerations before choosing a tax preparer, here are some simple questions that are important in making your decision.

1. What are your normal working hours?

2. Does your firm require an appointment?

3. How long is your normal waiting period before being served?

4. What type of services does your firm offer? 5. What are your price ranges for your services?

6. What happens if I have a problem after tax season or with my return?

7. Does this firm have any preparers that are familiar with tax situations similar to yours? This is especially important if you have pensions or sale of business property or other types of income or expenses other than a simple W2 from wages.

Although these are relatively simple questions, the answers you receive can tell you a lot about the variety of tax preparer professionals in your area. After you call around to find out the answers to the questions which you feel are most important regarding your tax situation, ask friends or business acquaintances in the same type of situation who they would recommend.

Taking the time to ask a few questions before you hand over the task of preparing your tax return to a tax preparer can give you a good bit of information regarding the tax professionals in your area. Using this information to determine which preparer meets your needs, provides the services that you need, and have the training to complete your return in a timely and professional manner within a price range that fits into your budget. Tax preparation is a service that you need to shop around for the best possible professional.

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