How to Choose the Right Tax Preparer

choosing-the-right-tax-preparer-albany-nyIt is that magical time of the year again and if you are looking for someone to prepare your taxes, there are many factors to consider including expertise and pricing. We are all unique and there is no one size fits all. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions! Here are some tips to help you in your search to choose the right tax preparer for you:

  1. Find out what their tax background and experience is. What is their training? What are their qualifications and credentials? How long have they been preparing tax returns? Also, some tax preparers are not a certified public accountants (CPA) and don’t have a formal credential but yet may be competent. Ask questions to find out what makes them qualified to prepare tax returns.
  2. Find out if the tax preparer has experience with the type of return that you must file. Tax returns are not all the same and range from 1040-EZ to various involved schedules. Tax preparers may focus on a certain type of return but may also have sufficient knowledge in many areas.  However, if your return is specialized, you will want to find a tax preparer who has a lot of experience with that type of return. . Ask about their experience with individual returns vs. corporate returns. In my experience, tax preparers who specialize in corporate tax returns, which tend to be more expensive, charge a higher minimum fee. This is something to keep in mind if you are only looking for personal tax return preparation.
  3. Ensure that the tax preparer is familiar with the requirements of the states and localities that you must file in. For example, if you live in one state but work in another, there may be filing requirements to consider. Also, you may have a business that has sales in different states, own property in another state or have relocated to a different state during the year.
  4. Know in advance what records, documents and other information that the tax preparer will require of you. This could save you time and money. A competent tax preparer will ask for many different documents and be able to explain what you will need to provide for special circumstances you may have. Personally, I like it when a tax preparer offers a thorough checklist to review, which would enable a thorough tax preparer to make sure nothing has been missed, such as long-term care insurance premium deductions, investment fees or student loan payments.
  5. Find out how the tax preparer determines their fees. The question to ask here is not how much they charge but how they calculate their fee. This could be based on the complexity of the return, type of return, whether additional schedules are needed or you have an unusual circumstance like a Roth IRA conversion.
  6. Make sure they can file returns electronically. In this day and age, this is a must.Refunds are faster and there are less errors.
  7. Know exactly who will be preparing your return at a firm. Will you need to sign the return or will the tax preparer do so? Beware of a preparer who refuses to sign a tax return.
  8. Find out when you will receive a copy of your tax return. It may not be immediately, but it should be within a reasonable amount of time.
  9. Will the tax preparer be available for questions after tax season? Some tax preparers are seasonal, which is not very helpful when you receive notices mid-year from the IRS for more information.
  10. Find out how the tax preparer handles auditsHopefully this will not be an issue in the future but it is better to be safe than sorry. Will the tax preparer answer questions from the IRS for you? How will the fee be calculated to do this or to fix any mistakes?


  12 comments for “How to Choose the Right Tax Preparer

  1. August 30, 2017 at 11:33 am

    I like that you mentioned that there are different filing requirements for different states. It makes sense that you would want to ensure your preprarer is aware of these requirements and ready to handle them. I am trying to find a tax preparer to help me handle my filing this year, and I work in a different state. I will be sure to ask about this as I search, thanks for sharing.

  2. August 30, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    I like that you mentioned finding out how much electronic options they use. This is a huge benefit to speeding up returns and the process. You want someone who is up to date on the technology.

  3. September 3, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    The excellent informative post you share on this page for the removing of tax comming on the sales of business due to the decrease of a business sales in a short time submitting an application with the explanation of authentic reason and purpose to the government after understanding all the important key points of a awesome mentioned in the great passage of information especially ” tax handles audits ” which is helpful for taxlayer to pass your claim according to the policy of government.

  4. October 3, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    Your advice to look into the preparer’s training, qualifications, and credentials as well as if they are a certified public accountant is a great idea. This could ensure that they’ll be able to provide you with the right services so your taxes are done correctly and to avoid problems and complications. Checking out the tax preparer’s website would probably help you learn more about their experience and qualifications as well as the types of services they offer to make sure they’re a good choice for your situation.

  5. October 13, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    I like how you point out t he need to ensure the tax preparer you’d like to hire is familiar with the laws and requirements associated to the state or locality where you live. Does this mean it would be useful to stick to hiring a local tax service? I’d be curious to know since I’m looking to benefit from a tax preparation service’s help this year.

  6. October 16, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    I’d be sure to ensure that the tax preparer is familiar with the requirements of the states and localities that you must file in. I’m in need of their service to make things easier not more complicated. Thanks for the great tips!

  7. November 16, 2017 at 12:19 am

    I liked the idea of the tax preparers having a list of the documents that they will be requiring to ensure nothing will be missed in the documentation. That shows a reliability, proactiveness, and how much we can trust them. I will be sure to locate one in accordance with your guidelines if I ever would be into business. Having that kind of help would take away a lot of worries from a business owner’s mind. Thanks for the article on how to choose the right tax preparer!

  8. December 18, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    I’ve been looking into getting a trust tax return service, and I think some help would be good. I’m glad you talked about being able to get some information about how a tax preparer determines their fees. I’m going to have to look for some good options, and see if we can find a good tax return service.

  9. December 18, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    It was really helpful when you emphasized that the tax preparers fee actually depends not by the hour but on the complexity of the tasks that I asked them to do. That’s a really good thing to be aware of especially now that I need to hire a tax preparer to help me with the company’s taxes. Taxes are the one thing that I have never gotten used to doing, and now that I have my own business, I need a professional to take care of the problem for me. Thanks for sharing. I helped an awful lot!

  10. January 9, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    I like how you say that you would want to consider if a tax service knows local and state tax codes. It would be good to find someone like this because it would ensure that they do a good job. My husband and I need help with our taxes this year, so we’ll have to find someone familiar with state laws.

  11. January 17, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    I agree that you want to find out what kind of fees a tax preparer expects. It would be good to consider this because it would help you know how much you will pay. My brother needs to get all his various taxes in order by April, so he’ll have to find a tax preparer with reasonable fees.

  12. January 22, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Your tip to find out how an accountant will handle their audits was extremely helpful. This will provide great insight into what to expect on your own tax preparation with them. I think this will be good advice for a friend of mine who has been asking about something similar.

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