How to Select Tax Preparation Services: Everything You Need to Know
Now that taxes are filed electronically, you can file your taxes yourself, right? Not exactly.
While you can take that chance, it’s always best to have someone double-check that you did everything right. Plus, many companies charge way too much.
The solution is to hire a tax preparation service. But with so many of them around today, how exactly do you go about choosing the right one? What do you need to consider?
Those are the very questions we’re going to give answers to in this article. So, keep reading as you learn everything you need to know to select tax preparation services wisely.
Define Your Needs
Do you need help understanding the tax code or someone to represent you in an audit? Do you need an expert in federal taxes, your state taxes, or both? Do you have a unique tax situation?
For a simple tax return, you may be able to get by with a do-it-yourself software program. Otherwise, it’s best to use the services of a professional tax preparer.
This is particularly true when you’re seeking opportunities for tax deductions and credits.
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Check Their Experience and Qualifications
When considering a prospect, find out whether they are a Certified Public Accountant or a Registered Tax Return Preparer. These professionals have to meet certain requirements and pass an exam in order to earn their designation.
You’ll also want to see if the tax preparer is experienced in the type of return you need. For example, if you are self-employed, you need someone who knows taxes for the self-employed like the back of their hand.
Read Reviews Online
Another thing you can do is read online reviews. This will give you a good idea of what others have experienced with different services and help you narrow down your choices.
Not all online reviews are credible though. Stick to popular, third-party websites to make sure you’re reading authentic testimonials from real people. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your time.
Consider the Cost
Another important consideration is cost. Full-service tax preparers typically charge more than do-it-yourself tax software, but the added convenience and peace of mind may be worth the extra expense.
When comparing prices, be sure to determine exactly what services are included. For example, the cost of a startup tax return will be a bit higher than a personal tax return. So it is essential to know your needs before shopping around.
Some tax preparers charge by the hour, while others charge a flat fee. It’s up to you to agree comfortably on something.
See if Your Personalities Fit
When looking for a tax preparer, assess your personal chemistry together.
This working relationship is not going to stop at filing returns or understanding the different types of taxes. You’ll be dealing with each other closely, so at the very least, you must be at ease around them.
Do your research to get a sense of who your prospect is and whether or not they would be a good fit for you. Sometimes, even a quick phone call can give you good clues.
Select Tax Preparation Services Wisely
There are many things to look for as you select tax preparation services, and there are no shortcuts. The risk of choosing an incompetent tax preparer is too high.
Always remember that it will be your name and signature on the dotted line, and only you will be responsible for any errors there be.
Want to learn more today? Check out our other blog posts for more helpful information!