7 Tips to Find the Best Tax Preparer Near You

Finding a not-just-good-but-great tax advisor is essential for an entrepreneur. It preserves the wealth as an advisor can save a business owner money both in the short and long term through appropriate tax planning and structuring.

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Here are seven pointers to help you find the right tax expert.

1. Check their credentials first
Several folks are professing to be “tax professionals” out there.

However, just because someone sets up a shingle and offers tax preparation services doesn’t imply they have the necessary ability, education, or experience to prepare your return.

Look for someone credentialed to enhance your chances of obtaining a qualified tax preparer. You must ensure that the tax preparer you choose has proper certifications and is competent enough. You can look for a tax preparer that is also a CTA or has enough experience in tax advisory.

To discover a tax return preparer in your region, you can find the “tax advisors near me” on specialist matchmaking services like Experlu.

2. Check their professional records
You must be able to put your faith in your tax preparer. After all, the tax preparer will be privy to all of your confidential financial information.

Just because tax advisors are qualified does not mean they have a solid professional reputation. A tax advisor’s knowledge, skills, and expertise gained by working in a specialist area or large accounting firm can prove beneficial for you and your business.

That’s why it is good to look into the advisor’s background before entrusting your tax and financial records to them.

You should also check on the current of certified preparers’ licenses and search for any disciplinary measures taken against them. Also, confirm that your tax preparer will be available after submitting your taxes.

You must ensure that if there’s a problem with your return, the preparer will be available to assist you in addressing any difficulties with the HMRC.

3. Hire a tax advisor who asks you questions
If tax advisors ask you many questions during the initial consultation, then it means that they know what they are doing.

It is beneficial for you in the long run because it means that you have a tax preparer who is genuinely interested in helping you achieve your financial goals.

4. Consider fees
Make sure you understand any tax preparation cost structure before employing them.

Inquire about costs to ensure that you completely understand the cost of their services. Ask for a breakdown of their services.

Tax preparers have many pricing models, like per return, per hour, a monthly retainer and one-off cost.   

Although not every professional tax preparation may charge the same way, all reputable tax preparers will be transparent about their fees.

Consider it a warning flag if a tax preparer refuses to discuss price with you or is unclear about pricing. Make sure you have a solid understanding of the expenses ahead of time, just like you would with any other service or product you purchase.

The cost of preparing your tax return varies considerably based on several factors, including the complexity of your return, where you reside, and the preparer’s experience. That’s why getting a quotation before choosing a tax preparer is recommended.

Even if you don’t get a precise quote right away, be sure you understand how the price is calculated. For example, a tax preparer may charge a flat price for each form, bill you by the hour, or start with a low fee and add on extra charges based on the complexity of your return.

Check that you understand what the given price includes. Is it included in the filing of your tax return? Are there any additional fees for e-filing or office visits? Is there any audit protection included in the cost if the HMRC flags your return?

If you’re only enquiring about a preparer’s services and prices, don’t send them your tax paperwork or any other personal or financial information. According to the HMRC, some dishonest preparers have fraudulently filed returns without the taxpayer’s approval using this information.

5. Make sure they are up-to-date
Since tax law is continually changing, your tax preparer must keep updated. So you should make sure to inquire about how your tax preparer has kept up with the latest tax developments.

6. Check to see if they e-file
You should check whether your chosen tax preparer has an e-file option.

7. Stay away from Red Flags
When you’ve settled on a sort of preparer to hire, make sure you avoid anyone who might be dishonest or cause you difficulties.

You can detect suspicious conduct in the following ways:

Charging you a fee based on the amount of tax you pay:
This is against the code of ethics that preparers must follow.

Preparing refunds without requesting documentation from you:
It’s against the law to sign off on a return without viewing the supporting paperwork. 

Guaranteeing reimbursements:
They promise tax deductions without fully understanding your financial situation.