There are several types of tax return preparers, including certified public accountants, enrolled agents, lawyers, and many others who don't have a professional credential. You expect your preparer to be an expert in preparing taxes and to file your income tax return accurately. You trust him with your most personal information. They know your marriage, your income, your children and your social security numbers: the details of your financial life.
When choosing a tax preparer, ask them about their communication preferences. Some tax preparers prefer to discuss issues over the phone or video, while others will answer basic questions via email. If preparing your taxes involves gathering a W-2 form from your employer and a 1099 from your bank and entering them into one form, your return is simple and you should consider filing it yourself or using tax software. File a complaint if you have been financially affected by the misconduct or improper tax preparation practices of a tax return preparer.
No one can legally accept payment for preparing their taxes unless they have an IRS Tax Preparer Identification Number (PTIN). If you receive a recommendation for a certified public accountant, ask the tax preparer for some references and compare prices before making a decision. Anyone can be a paid tax return preparer as long as they have an IRS Tax Preparer Identification Number (PTIN). Lawyers are the best at complex legal issues, such as preparing estate tax returns or taking your case to the United States.
People tend to pay a fixed fee, while companies tend to pay hourly rates, as they work with their tax preparers all year round. If you're an organized person with so much time to compile, plan and prepare your own tax return, try tax filing software. A tax preparer can help you throughout the year, but for more complex taxes, you may prefer a public accountant who also takes care of your company's books and finances. Ross refused to hire a tax professional for years, assuming that paying someone else to prepare his return would be a waste of money.
The IRS estimates that people who are not businesses whose individual returns do not include income from a business, rental property, transfer business, or farm have an average of eight hours to prepare a tax return (PDF). The IRS maintains a public directory of PTIN holders who also have professional credentials, such as certified public accountant (CPA) or registered agent (EA); the directory also includes lawyers who specialize in tax preparation and planning, as well as preparers who voluntarily complete a continuing education program each year. If you have complicated taxes (for example, you are self-employed or have rental properties) or even if you simply hate paying your own taxes, finding a good tax preparer can be a big help and relieve a lot of stress. If you don't have much time to prepare your taxes or if your situation is complicated, it's generally best to hire a tax professional.