Many people wait till the end of the year before they begin their search online using the term ‘ tax preparers near me.’ If you do the necessary research, you will find a tax preparer that you can use almost anytime. Filing business taxes will not be a hassle anymore.
The golden question is, ‘ How do you find the best tax preparer in my area?’ Many people are in confusion when it comes to picking a tax preparer. Part of the confusion is that most tax preparers claim that they are the best in the town. The claims that they make can make you believe in them without questioning the authenticity of those claims.
Unfortunately, many people blindly trust the search results on the search engine. They think that the first search result that appears when you use the phrase ‘ tax preparer near me’ is undoubtedly the best. But, not always, you should trust the results. Some finance companies that provide tax preparation services do aggressive marketing to stay on the top.
Since there is so much confusion in this matter, an article here lays out some sixteen steps to find the best tax preparer.
Difference Between Tax Preparers and CPAs
Many people lack understanding of this aspect. They think Tax preparers and CPAs are the same. People believe that they do the same things. But, in reality, it is not so. CPAs and tax preparers are not the same. Not all tax preparers that you find are going to be CPAs.
You do not need the assistance of a CPA to help in filing your tax returns. Many tax preparers are not CPAs, yet they are pretty competent. They assist you with so many different things, such as setting the accounting software, reviewing the records, and doing the tax evaluation.
While there can be specialists, not everyone is going to know everything about the IRS tax code. And no one in the world can master it. Hence, it would be best if you were very careful when picking a tax preparer. You must select a tax preparer that best suits your need after doing a thorough investigation.
Search Online and Offline for Tax Preparers
Take your time to search and research tax preparers both online and offline. Use phrases such as ‘ tax preparer near me, and best tax preparers’ to find the best companies that provide this service.
If you do this thing, you will soon locate some of the best tax preparers in the city. Once you find some tax preparers, take your time to check the company’s website and its services.
If you come across offices of the tax preparers on the street, you should take the time to stop and speak with them. Learn about their qualification and how they can assist you with filing tax returns. As you do this exercise, you will soon locate the best tax preparers in the city.
Check With Your Connections
It is also best to connect with your friends and relatives to see if they know any tax preparers. If yes, you should check if they have the right qualifications and learn about your connections working as a tax preparer. If you do this thing, you will soon find tax preparers that you can trust.
Check the Credentials
Yes, you must check a tax preparer’s credentials before you use their services. Different states have different requirements when it comes to awarding the license to a CPA.
Some states also require the CPA to have specific education and also pass a particular exam every year to retain the license that they receive from them. Never skip this step when searching for a tax preparer.
Always check the credentials of the tax preparer before using their services. Immediately after finding tax preparers online using the phrase, ‘tax preparer,’ you must do this task.
Experience of the Tax Preparers
Always check this aspect when you are planning to hire a professional tax preparer. Experience matters a lot as it indicates what kind of person you are dealing with when hiring them for a critical job.
Giving a blind eye to this aspect will only cause you to pick the wrong guy. When companies that provide tax preparation services have vast experience, they are experts in doing the work, and they know the tax loopholes.
Monthly Bookkeeping Services
Now, this is one thing that you must plan on checking before taking things forward. If a company is providing bookkeeping services, that’s excellent. Take your time to find a company that is into tax preparation services and provides these services.
Some financial companies offer a variety of different services. You can pick those that are best from all the available options. When the company that is preparing the tax returns also provides bookkeeping services, that’s excellent. You do not have to work with different firms. Working with one company is such a relaxing experience.
Meet With the Representatives
Once you filter out some of the finance companies you want to use to file tax returns, schedule an appointment to meet with them. Prepare questions that you want to ask the representatives.
Also, collate all the necessary information about your company. This information, primarily financial information, will help the representatives get a fair idea of your business and your financial condition. They say that ‘ The first impression is the best impression.’
Hence, take your time to see if you are happy with the experience you have with the representatives. Are they listening to your queries and are giving you insightful responses?
Are they providing priority to provide you with the best customer service? Not all companies think about this aspect. In many cases, many companies may not have staff that is experienced and knowledgeable. Doing this kind of research will help you locate the right tax preparers. When you observe things, you will soon learn a lot about the company’s work culture that you are planning to use. You will learn how they treat their customers. It will help you to recognize the best among all the available options.
Ask for References
Yes, this is one of the things that you should do when you are researching companies that provide tax preparation services. When you meet the representatives, you should ask them to give some references. Check with them to learn what kind of service they did provide.
Take some time to reach out to the references to understand how they liked the services. Ask them questions to learn more about the tax preparer before taking things further. Avoid companies that do not want to share this information. Professional companies do not mind sharing this information.
Check the Rates
One of the key reasons you must reach out to various companies is to understand the market rate. Get quotes from at least three to five companies. This way, you will know which company charges you an excessive amount and which companies are pretty affordable.
If possible, do your best to negotiate the prices. When you get quotes from a few companies, you will understand the market rate, and you will know how to get the best deal. Many people rush to find a tax preparer. They do not do any research, and as a result, they will pick the wrong guy to work with them.
Scope of Work
It is one of the first things you should plan on doing when you find a tax preparer. Talk with the tax preparer to understand what kind of tasks they will do and things they will not be doing.
When you get the quote, try to give the same work scope to all of the tax preparers you reach. This way, there is no confusion. Tax preparers have clarity of things when you give them similar work scope. If confused, try to get a quote from one company and share the tasks you need assistance with others.
Time Taken to File Tax Returns
Not all the tax preparers that you find have free time. Look at their schedule. Take your time to find out how much time it will take for them to file the tax returns. If a tax preparer is busy and has less time to cater, it is wise to look for another preparer or search for companies that provide this type of service.
Companies usually have more staff and are willing to go the extra mile to file the tax returns within a stipulated timeframe. It is the main reason why you must search for finance companies that provide tax preparation services.
Tax Issues They Can Handle
Most tax preparers are experts in handling specific tax-related issues. They do not have the expertise to handle all types of queries. Hence, take your time to find a tax preparer specializing in handling tax-related issues you encounter.
When you do proper research and follow the steps outlined above, you will soon locate the city’s best tax preparers. There is no room for an error when you take care of this aspect. It is one of the steps that you should follow when you are searching for a tax preparer.
Check for PTIN
Never use a tax preparer that does not have a PTIN. PTIN means Preparer Tax Identification Number. It is a requirement from the IRS that people who file taxes should have a PTIN number.
One cannot file taxes if they do not have this number. Hence, this is one of the first things that should concern you when searching for a tax preparer. Avoid using people who do not have a PTIN but still want to file the taxes. Doing this is the best thing. Always search for a tax preparer that has a PTIN.
Provides E-file services
Many people do not understand that if a preparer is offering e-file services, they are pretty experienced. Not all the tax preparers that you find in the city are well-experienced. If a tax preparer submits more than ten returns for their clients, they become eligible to file returns online. Hence, if a tax preparer does not provide an e-filing option, it might be because they do not have the experience.
It is wise to check for a tax preparer that has vast experience. When you key in the phrase online ‘tax preparer near me,’ you will get a list of tax preparers in the town. You should, therefore, take the time to find the best ones from all the available options.
Sign the Returns Before Submission
It is a requirement from the law for the tax preparers to sign the documents. They have to include their PTIN information on the tax return forms. But, it would be best if you refrained from signing any blank forms. It would be best if you made it clear before you use a tax preparer.
A professional tax preparer will never expect you to do this thing. When you sign on the blank form, tax preparers that are not honest can do things such as include their bank account and steal your refund. Hence, it would be best to take care of this aspect when you are searching for a tax preparer.
Provide You Necessary Support
Lastly, when you choose a tax preparer, find a preparer representing you with the IRS if there is an audit. IRS carries audits, checks the payments, and will raise appeals. It would be best to have a tax preparer that is highly qualified and one who knows how to handle these stressful situations. Hence, this is one of the first things you must check when looking for a tax preparer.
Here are sixteen steps that you can take to find the best tax preparer in the city. Try not to skip these steps to find a professional tax preparer that is the best. Apart from searching for ‘ best tax preparer near me,’ these are some of the things you can do to locate the best finance company that provides tax preparation services. There are many excellent benefits you get to enjoy when you use the best or professional tax preparer.