So, what should you be looking for in a tax preparer? The IRS and many consumer watchdog organizations give advice on how to choose a tax preparer. The following is a summary of some of their points. Take note that the large chain firms do not meet this criterion
Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer
- Check the Preparer’s credentials Is the preparer licensed? Very few preparers in the large tax preparation offices are licensed. The only individuals that are licensed to prepare taxes and authorized to represent taxpayers in all matters, including audits, collections and appeals are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), Enrolled Agents (EAs) and Attorneys. The big chains cannot truly represent you in tax matters, even though some claim that they will accompany you to the IRS if you are audited.
- Check affiliations. Most of the preparers that are employed at the large tax preparation offices are not affiliated with a professional organization that provides its members with continuing education and binds them to ethical standards, such as CPAs, EAs, or attorneys.
- Make sure the tax preparer is accessible and doesn’t disappear after April 15th. Are you able to contact the tax preparer after April 15th, or is your preparer laid off when the larger chains close most of their offices after Tax Season. The IRS may have questions about your return months, or even years, after it was filed.
- Check the record. Make sure there aren’t any issues in the preparer’s history by checking with the Better Business Bureau. Then, check for disciplinary actions and licensure status through the state boards of accountancy for certified public accountants, the state bar associations for attorneys and the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility for enrolled agents.
Incompass Tax, Estate & Business Solutions, fits the IRS and consumer watchdog recommendations as an excellent tax preparation firm. We do not employ the unlicensed, seasonal preparers who possess a minimum level of tax knowledge that the big chains employ, AND we provide on-going year-round consulting to help you through all phases of your life or business.
Our perspective encompasses the BIG picture; including tax planning, estate issues, and business compliance. We are much more than just tax preparation.