Most taxpayers in the U.S. prefer to use a tax preparer to file returns. If you are one of these taxpayers, you need to start identifying the professional to handle your taxes in good time before the tax season sets in. There are various factors you should consider when seeking the ideal preparer to handle your taxes. Below are some of these factors:
Skills and Qualifications
One of the considerations when selecting a tax preparer to handle your taxes is skills and qualifications. Find out the skills that a preparer has to handle your taxes. As of 2012, all tax preparers are now required to get Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTIN) after registering with the IRS. Your preparer should therefore posses this license to legally prepare your taxes. Besides this, you should consider other qualifications such as CPA certifications or an attorney with tax specialty. There are also other trainings and skills that can qualify one to professionally handle your taxes and you need to review such qualifications.
The other important consideration is ones experience. Even with the right qualifications, you get to enjoy better quality services if you go for an experienced preparer. There are some issues and procedures of taxes that are better handled from an experience perspective. When it comes to dealing with IRS audits or complicated tax matters, you may also be better placed if you are dealing with a more experienced professional. Therefore, always ask for the years that one has been practicing in the field and the number of clients that he or she has handled over the year.
Availability and Reliability
The availability of a tax preparer is yet another important consideration. There are many preparers who handle too many clients to the extent that they cannot provide you with quality services. You should weary of such preparers. Try and get a tax preparer who has time for you and who is able to give you personalized service. He or she should be able to give you tax advice as he or she prepares the taxes. You can tell the availability of the preparer by the amount of time that one is willing to spend with you and how often one gets to communicate with you proactively.
What Returns they Handle
Another important consideration is the type of taxes that the preparer handles. There are tax preparers who only handle Federal taxes and do not handle State and local taxes. There are yet other preparers who only handle issues of negotiations with the IRS when it comes to installment taxes or Offer in Compromises. You therefore, need to ascertain the scope of taxes handled by a preparer so as to know whether he or she can handle all of your tax needs.
Terms of Service
You should also review the terms of service that a preparer gives you for his or her services. Some tax preparers undertake to handle any IRS audits should one arise from returns that he or she has prepared on your behalf. Others will not handle audits or will handle such audits as an extra paid service. There are preparers who provide tax refunds in advance.
Different tax preparers will charge different fees for their services. You therefore, need to review the charges levied and the terms of payment. You should be weary of tax preparers who request a commission based on the amount of refund they are able to get you as most of such preparers use unorthodox and illegal ways of inflating your refunds. You should also be careful of preparers who insist on receiving refunds on your behalf.