When it comes time to do your taxes, it can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve recently gone through a life change like buying a home or getting married. Fortunately, if you’re searching for guidance, there are professionals ready to help.
Tax advisors help you minimize the amount of taxes you owe — all while staying compliant with the law. But how should you find someone who’s right for you? Here are four things to know about how to find a tax advisor.
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1. Know Your Options
There are different classes of tax advisors, and you’ll want to know what options you have. In general, you’ll want to look for enrolled agents, certified public accountants (CPAs), or tax attorneys.
Enrolled agents are licensed by the federal government; they’re able to represent taxpayers, if necessary, before the IRS. CPAs are licensed by the state after completing hours of study and passing a CPA exam.
No matter who you choose make sure your tax advisor has a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
2. Do Your Research About Tax Advisors
When you’re ready to find a tax advisor, it’s important to compare several professionals before making your choice. Not sure where to start? Try Googling tax advisors near me to pull up great local options.
You can also look at the National Association of Enrolled Agents or use a CPA lookup tool.
Once you have a list, you’ll want to dig into each tax advisor to see their qualifications and years of experience. It’s also good to read reviews and see what their clients have to say about them.
Doing your due diligence and reading reviews can reinforce whether or not you should choose this tax advisor. If you see any red flags, like a history of bad reviews and service, then it could be time to look elsewhere.
3. Rely on Your Friends and Family
By hearing first-hand about other people’s experiences with tax advisors, you can get an in-depth look at what the process was like and learn details that may not be included in online reviews.
You can also take this time to ask specific questions of your friends. That could mean asking about the tax advisor cost or the timeline, for example.
4. Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions before hiring a tax advisor. You should ask whether they offer e-filing and see if you can get an estimate of the price. Other good things to ask about include their average response time, and what they do if a client is audited.
If there’s something particular you’re concerned about — you’re a small business owner, for example, or you’ve just gotten divorced — it can also be helpful to discuss the tax advisor’s areas of expertise.
Find a Tax Advisor Today
When it comes to finding good tax advisors, there are several steps you should take in your search to ensure you end up happy with whoever you choose. By asking for referrals to researching qualifications, you can feel confident in your decision.
For more information on navigating personal finances, be sure to explore the rest of our site.