How to Select a Tax Professional in 4 Easy Steps
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes 6 seconds
Tax season is soon approaching once again, and if you are looking for a professional to help you prepare your taxes, there are several questions you should ask so that you can perform your due diligence and do your best to get the person who is best-suited to do the job for you.
1. Ask background questions
If you are speaking with someone who you are considering for this task, there are some specific questions you can ask to determine if he or she is qualified.
One good way to start out is to ask what experience they have with the type of return that you are looking to file. You will also want to ask if they have knowledge about self-directed IRA rules and regulations. While many different professionals will have experience with something like a basic 1040 tax form, there may be fewer tax experts you can work with if you have more complex needs, especially those involving your retirement account.
2. Confirm Qualified Professionals
You should ask the person what his or her credentials are, as there is a short list of professionals who are able to represent individuals in all their tax dealings with the IRS. Only attorneys, certified public accounts and enrolled agents have the ability to represent you in appeals, audits and collections, if such a matter should come up with the IRS.
All of these professionals are governed by laws that require them to engage in continuing education and also act in an ethical manner.
4. Background Internet Research
Once you have the names of potential tax preparers, you can throw them into Google and see what comes up. See if the person has a website, because this can help provide insight into whether or not he or she stays on top of industry updates.
Such a source of information can also tell you a lot more about the experience that the person has. It is important to look for information that denotes credibility, instead of flair and other marketing gimmicks.
If the potential tax preparer has taken part in interviews or writes a regular publication such as a newsletter or blog, these are generally good indications.
5. Use Referrals
Another good way you can lower the odds of encountering a bad tax collector is working with referrals. If you have friends with self-directed IRAs, for example, ask them who they use when they have tax issues or questions.
If your tax advisor has questions, or if you are ready to use your retirement account to invest in alternative investments, give us a call at 1-800-392-9653.