Do your stress levels soar when it’s time to do your taxes? You’re not alone! More than 50 percent of Americans report feeling stressed when tax time comes around, regardless of whether they owe Uncle Sam a little or a lot.
If you’re tired of feeling stressed out about your taxes, there is something you can do about it. You can hire a tax accountant who can help you with the process of paying taxes and make sure your taxes are done properly.
Before you agree to start working with a tax accountant, you should do your due diligence and find the right one in your area. It will help you avoid adding even more stress to your life and ensure your taxes don’t cause you any unnecessary headaches.
Here are some things you should consider when hiring a tax accountant.
All tax accountants are not created equal! Some specialize in preparing taxes for individuals, while others are more qualified to work with business owners.
What do you need a tax accountant for?
You should ask yourself that question as you start your search and then narrow down the list of accountants in your area by finding the ones that specialize in working with people like you.
The last thing you want to do is ask an accountant who usually works with homeowners to prepare the taxes for your gigantic company. At the same time, there’s also not much sense in overpaying for a high-priced accountant who usually works with big corporations to prepare the tax returns for your single W-2.
You want an accountant who has the right amount of expertise to meet your needs. In theory, a good accountant should let you know if they think they’re right for the job. But don’t always count on them to tell you if they would be the best fit for you.
In general, you should look for a tax accountant with about five years of accounting experience to help you prepare your taxes. While someone with slightly less experience might do a great job, five years has turned into the benchmark in the industry.
An accountant who has spent those five years–or more–working for a larger accounting firm would usually be best. This type of accountant will typically have been exposed to more over the years and will have a better handle on how to take care of your tax issues.
In addition to finding an accountant with a lot of experience, it’s also important to make sure they have plenty of recent experience. The tax codes are constantly changing, so you want someone on your side who knows about the latest changes.
Feel free to ask potential accountants to speak with you about the experience they have as it pertains to you. They should be able to provide a full breakdown with regards to how they can help get your tax situation under control.
If you’ve never hired a tax accountant before, you might be surprised to hear that those who help others prepare taxes don’t necessarily need to have a license to do it.
That being said, it is a great idea to hire someone who is a licensed Certified Public Accountant, or CPA for short, since it means they’ll have more insight into how taxes work.
During tax season, there are plenty of people who will pick up a part-time job and help others prepare taxes. But those people aren’t usually the best people to handle more intricate tax matters.
If you have complicated tax questions you need answered or if you simply want the peace of mind that comes with hiring a CPA to do the job, make sure you inquire about what kind of licensing your prospective tax accountant has.
You should also ask about the level of education your accountant has achieved. This will give you a much better idea about how much training your accountant has when it comes to preparing taxes.
Most tax preparers rely on tax software to help them file returns for clients. Software like UltimateTax Software makes it easy for accountants to keep all of their clients’ information together.
When meeting with an accountant for the first time, you should ask about which type of software they prefer to use. If you’ve never heard of it before, ask about how it works and how it will ultimately benefit you if you choose them to do your taxes.
Is your accountant willing to stand behind you in the event that the Internal Revenue Service decides to audit your tax return?
Fortunately, there are very few people who actually have to worry about this. The IRS audits less than 1 percent of those who file a tax return every year. But an IRS audit can be a scary situation for any home or business owner, and it’s nice to have a tax accountant by your side when you go through it.
You shouldn’t necessarily expect an accountant to help you through an audit without charging you an extra fee for it. But it’s not much to ask for an accountant to, at the very least, offer to provide audit protection for a small fee in the event that you get audited.
During the audit process, your accountant will be able to explain what the IRS needs from you and help you gather the necessary documents to submit to the IRS. They will also be able to answer any questions you might have about how an audit works.
While you shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about an audit, you should make sure you have an accountant who is willing to step up and assist you through one if you ever need help.
Hiring a tax accountant can be a costly expense. There are some tax preparation companies that will charge individuals and businesses hundreds of dollars per hour for their services.
While that might sound extreme to you, these companies often charge that much for a reason. They have accountants who know their stuff and can find you every single deduction possible. They also know the ins and outs of tax codes and can sidestep potential problems with ease to benefit you or your business.
When you start searching around for tax accountants, you should come up with a budget and then try and stick to it. At the same time, you should make sure that an accountant who fits in your budget will be able to meet your individual needs.
Spending a little extra on an accountant could reap big rewards for you or your business. So don’t just go with whichever accountant offers you the most affordable price. Consider the services they offer and their reputation and then prepare to pay them accordingly based on what they can do for you.
Part of the reason so many Americans fear doing their taxes is because they simply don’t understand them. They don’t get why they have to pay taxes for certain things or how deductions work.
Your tax accountant should put your mind at ease by walking you through each and every step of the tax preparation process so that you aren’t stressed out about it.
Many accountants spend all day and night thinking about and doing taxes, so they’re not always warm, welcoming, friendly people. In some cases, people filing their taxes might not mind that as long as their taxes get done right.
But you want to find someone who makes you feel comfortable when you sit down with them to do your taxes. They should be willing to work with you and answer any questions you might have about how taxes work.
If you don’t feel comfortable when you work with your tax accountant, it’s time to find a new one. There’s no reason to make tax time any more stressful than it has to be.
Traditionally, most people have worked with accountants in their immediate areas when preparing taxes. Proximity has always played a big part in people picking the accountant that’s right for them.
This isn’t necessarily the case anymore. While many people still prefer to work with an accountant that operates out of their city, technology has made it possible for people to work with accountants located just about anywhere.
You can email documents to your accountant in a matter of seconds or talk over Skype to clear up any questions you might have. It has made it easier than ever before for people to broaden their horizons and choose the best accountant, even if that accountant doesn’t work nearby.
Find the Right Tax Accountant for the Job Today
Stop letting stress get the best of you every time you have to sit down and pay your taxes. You can eliminate stress by finding a tax accountant who can handle preparing your taxes for you.
Take a look at our blog for more tips on taking care of yourself and keeping yourself healthier than ever before.