How to choose the best tax preparer near you – Here’s what you should look for!
Do you feel like taxes are getting harder and harder every year? Do you find yourself asking how will you find the best tax preparer in my area? Well, you’re not alone! Taxes are getting harder and harder as the years go by, if tax preparation is too much to handle yourself this year and think that you need some help with tax preparation this year, check out this checklist to find the right person for the job.
When you hire a tax preparer, it helps to ask what credentials and certifications they have.
It might come as a surprise to you, but tax preparers have access to your most personal details, including your bank accounts, marriage, and kids — and your Social Security number.
Taxpayers should ask prospective tax preparers some key questions before hiring them. Here are 5 things that to consider that can help you choose the best tax preparer near you.
Find a tax preparer with an Enrolled Agent designation
The Enrolled Agent designation is one credential that stands out when it comes to the field of tax preparation! Enrolled Agents are certified by the Federal Government through the IRS to prepare taxes for everyone. Enrolled Agents also go through the IRS’ Annual Filing Program to ensure that they are up to date with the latest rules and guidelines concerning your taxes. The Accredited Business Accountant/Advisor and Accredited Tax Preparer programs prepare people to fulfill annual filing season requirements. These credentials require varying amounts of study, exams, and ongoing education.
Watch out for Tax Preparer Red Flags
Because there are many people claiming to be tax preparers, it can be difficult to know who’s right for you. Here are a few red flags that could mean someone isn’t legitimate.
Promises the moon when it comes to your tax refund
When looking for a tax preparer you can fall for the “it’s-too-good-to-be-true” trap. The trap involves promises of high tax returns that are significantly higher than what you usually get for the past few years. Unless your income, family situation, or the tax law has changed significantly, your tax refund should be similar from year to year. Be wary of anyone who says they can get you a refund far in excess of anything you’ve received in the past.
Won’t sign the return
The law requires those who prepare taxes to sign the tax return that they have prepared! If you find yourself with a tax preparer that outright refuses to sign a return, do not put your signature on the paper. Find another tax preparer that will willingly sign the tax return that he or she has made and then you can have the peace of mind of placing your signature on the return since your tax preparer placed theirs on the return.
Doesn’t have a website
You should choose an independent tax preparer who has a permanent business presence and is easy to find. You’ll want to be able to find him or her if you’re audited or have any questions about your return.
Charges you based on your refund
Legitimate tax preparers charge their clients either an hourly fee or a flat rate for their work. Avoid those who charge based on the size of your refund; this practice is considered unethical by the National Association of Tax Professionals.
Listen to your gut
When deciding on a preparer, go with your gut and trust your instincts. If something about a tax preparer doesn’t feel right—they seem to gloss over or misunderstand your questions or tax situation, for instance—it might be best to keep looking for someone else to handle your return.
Interview Tax Preparers in your area
You can learn a lot by researching the tax preparer online, but nothing beats a personal discussion. This is particularly true when you’re looking for a long-term tax preparer that you can trust. Tax season is busy, so don’t expect a deep conversation. But make sure to ask your tax preparer for a five to ten-minute phone call at least. During the call, get the following information if it is not readily available on the preparer’s or professional’s website:
- How they handle and store your sensitive financial documents.
- Are the charges based on a flat fee or an hourly rate?
- How many years have they been in the business?
- Do they prepare the returns themselves or have a staff to assist.
- Do they file tax returns electronically?
- Are they an Enrolled Agent.
Runaway from Tax Preparers who still file by paper
Tax preparers who file 10 or more taxes per year are required to file electronically. If your tax preparer refuses to file electronically, this might mean that they don’t do that much tax preparation to have the knowledge and skills to properly file your taxes.
Anyone can pose themselves as a tax preparer by simply having a PTIN. However, preparing taxes is complicated work that requires years of experience and technical tax knowledge to properly execute. Getting stuck with a tax preparer that doesn’t have the experience or technical tax knowledge of an Enrolled Agent might result in mistakes in your tax returns and it could lead you to hot waters. Take these tips in mind when you are looking for a tax preparer so you can save yourself the hassle of an IRS audit!
Rushing to meet the 2022 tax deadline and need a trustworthy tax preparer to help you out? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered!
Get in touch with us today! We are located at 24044 Cinco Village Center Blvd 100, Katy, TX. You can call us at +713 855 8035