Tax season is coming up, and that means it’s time to start thinking about preparing your taxes. But where do you start? One option is to search for a tax preparer or advisor near you. However, this task can be daunting—especially if you don’t have much experience with taxes. In this blog post, we will provide tips on how to find the best tax preparer or tax advisor near you. We will also discuss some of the key considerations you should make when choosing a tax professional.
Ask for a preparer tax identification number (PTIN)
If you’re considering hiring a tax preparer or advisor to help with your taxes, it’s important to ask for their PTIN. PTINs are generally required by all preparers who provide tax preparation services to their clients (including those who work independently). If you don’t know your preparer’s PTIN, you can find out by contacting the IRS or the state taxing authority responsible for administering your specific type of income tax.
If you’re not sure whether your preparer has a PTIN, be sure to ask before starting any paperwork or providing any personal information. Not every preparer is required to have a PTIN and some may not be able to provide one if they don’t already have it. In addition, some states require that all tax preparers have PTINs.
Require a CPA, law license, or enrolled agent designation
Tax preparation services can be a valuable resource for individuals who need help filing their taxes. However, not all of these professionals are qualified to provide tax advice. To find a professional who is qualified to provide tax advice, you will need to verify their qualifications through an educational or professional designation.
You can verify the qualifications of a tax preparer or advisor by searching for the professional’s designation on the National Association of Professional Tax Preparers (NAPTP) website or by contacting the organization directly. The NAPTP website also includes a directory of certified public accountants (CPAs) and enrolled agents (EAs).
If you cannot find the professional’s designation on the NAPTP website or through contacting the organization, it is likely that they do not have formal education or experience in taxation and may not be able to provide sound financial advice. If you have concerns about whether a tax preparer or advisor is qualified, please consult with a tax professional before hiring them.
Look for friends in high places
If you are preparing your taxes or need assistance from a professional, there are several places to look for someone recommended by friends, family, or professionals. Here are five resources to search when seeking the best tax preparer or tax advisor near you:
- The IRS website features a searchable directory of certified public accountants (CPAs) who can help with your taxes. You can also find contact information for state agencies that offer free or low-cost tax preparation services.
- Google Search offers many ways to find people and businesses in your area. Type in “tax preparers” or “tax advisors” and see what comes up.
- Ask friends, family, or colleagues if they know of anyone who can help with your taxes.
- Check out online directories of professional service providers such as the Yellow Pages and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
- Ask your bank, credit union, or other financial institution about available tax preparation services through its affiliated company or business group.
Compare tax preparation fees
Tax preparation fees can vary significantly depending on the services offered and where you live. To get a sense of what you might be paying, we compared tax preparation fees for a variety of services across eight U.S. cities. In all cases, we found that the lowest fee went to an independent preparer who did not participate in any billing or financial software. The highest fee was charged by a firm that used billable software and enrolled in a premium account that allowed them to save their clients up to 50% on their taxes.
We also looked at the length of time it took to complete each process, from submitting your tax return to receiving your refund. The average turnaround time for an individual return was about 21 days but ranged from just over five days to more than two months.
Reconsider tax advisors who don’t e-file
Many taxpayers are unaware that they can find a tax preparer or advisor who specializes in e-file by contacting the IRS’s E-File Services Center. The IRS provides a directory of authorized preparers and advisors who can help taxpayers file their taxes electronically.
To use this service, taxpayers need to first sign up for an account with the E-File Services Center. Once they have registered, they can access the E-File Services Center’s online directory. This online directory lists all of the preparers and advisors who are authorized to provide tax services through e-file. The taxpayer simply needs to check the boxes next to the preparers or advisors they want to work with and then click on the “Find a Provider Near You” link.
The E-File Services Center will then provide a list of qualified providers near them. The selected provider will be contacted and receive instructions from the taxpayer on how to provide electronic filing services. Taxpayers can also get their selected provider if they have any questions about using this service or about preparing their taxes using e-file.
E-file is an excellent way for taxpayers to simplify their tax preparation process and save time and money in doing so. By choosing a preparer or advisor who specializes in e-file, taxpayers can ensure that their taxes are filed correctly and efficiently using the latest technology.
Confirm they’ll sign on the dotted line
If you’re considering hiring a tax preparer or advisor to help with your upcoming taxes, it’s essential to confirm that they’ll sign on the dotted line. Tax preparers and advisors are licensed professionals and must abide by certain ethical guidelines, such as not giving advice that would result in a client paying fewer taxes than they should. To ensure that you’re getting quality service from a qualified professional, look for signs that they’re registered with the IRS or have undergone rigorous training. Additionally, ask if they have any experience preparing complex tax returns and whether they’ve ever been sued for negligence or wrongdoing related to their work as a tax preparer or advisor.
Check if your advisor would have your back
Looking for a tax advisor or tax preparer to help you with your taxes this year? Here are some tips to help find the best option for you:
First, make a list of your filing needs and what you would like your advisor or preparer to do. This includes things like preparing your taxes, organizing and reviewing your records, helping with deductions and credits, and more.
Next, research the tax advisors or preparers in your area. Look at their biography, testimonials, license information, and other online reviews to get an idea of their qualifications. You can also contact them directly to ask questions or request a consultation.
Finally, meet with the advisors or preparers to discuss what you need and see if they are a good fit for you. Ask about their pricing structure, how long it will take them to complete your taxes, and whether they offer any special discounts or services for military members or veterans.