Tax time is fast approaching and here are some tips to help you find the right tax professional.
Why: Figure out why you need a professional, the common reasons are speed, accuracy, and difficulty of your taxes situation. The type of professional you will need varies upon the reason why you need them. Places like H&R Block may be the quickest place to get your taxes filed but they aren’t always the most knowledgeable. Enrolled agents may be more accurate but may take longer and cost more. CPA’s are commonly used for business taxes and are often used in difficult situations although they cost more money.
Who: Places like H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt have professionals who receive extra training and now the ins and outs of tax preparation. When going to a tax franchise be sure to request the senior tax prep individual as not all preparers have the same level of expertise. Check with friends, family or co-workers to see who they would recommend before make decisions as to hiring an enrolled agent or CPA. Make sure to verify that the person filing you taxes is either an enrolled agent, a CPA or has advanced training.
How Much: How much are you willing to spend? The number of deductions that the professional will find often offsets the amount charged. An enrolled agent or a CPA charge only a little bit more than a franchise service and the work is of much higher quality. Call around and verify prices with a number of agencies or individuals before you hire or choose anyone. Ask what the price range is as some professionals charge by the hour while others charge a flat fee for all of the work and others charge by the number of tax forms needed.
Situation: Decide what is best needed for your situation. Some circumstances will require a professional with extensive knowledge of tax laws. Contact friends or neighbors and find out whom they would recommend. A CPA is often used for business or very complex situations while a tax franchise is often used for simpler tax prep.
Guarantee: Make sure that the agent or agency preparing your taxes guarantees their work. The work should be completed quickly yet correctly. Many franchise agencies offer an extended guarantee but these really aren’t needed. They should also be willing to amend any tax mistakes and help you in the event of an IRA audit.
Documents: Make sure take all of your needed documents with you. What you will need includes all of your tax documents, photo ID, social security cards, checkbook for direct deposit and payment and a copy of last year’s return.
Consider Online: Consider filing your taxes online. Many of the online tax companies offer professional assistance. H&R Blocks Website helps you file your taxes and for a little extra money can have a tax professional pour over your return looking for exemptions and credits you may have missed.
Tax time is fast approaching and you don’t want to incur penalties or late fees so start looking into and preparing your taxes now, before it’s too late.