Proper training helps preparers understand changing legislation and fill knowledge gaps from questions and client feedback. It was finding a software platform that boosts know-how and assists with filing.
Referrals are a great way to find a qualified tax professional. Ask business owners and financial advisors you trust, as well as family and friends, for recommendations.
How to Find the Right Tax Service for Your Needs
Choosing exemplary tax services starts with finding a qualified professional to handle your case. A CPA, for instance, has a wide range of credentials and experience. You can find a local CPA through the state board of Accountancy or a directory maintained by the National Association of Enrolled Agents.
A good tax preparer can answer questions and represent you before the IRS in the event of an audit. They also know the latest tax laws and are up-to-date on changes in the tax code.
Suppose you prefer to do your taxes online. Its easy-to-use software includes a free tax calculator to help you estimate your refund before filing. It also provides a free consultation. If you need a hand filing, your return has in-person locations with evening and weekend hours. You can also file your return online or through its mobile app. Its e-filing service is free for most returns.
The decision between hiring a professional or using tax software comes down to cost and complexity in tax preparation. For most taxpayers with simple returns, using a tax preparation software program makes more sense than paying for human help or a preparer by the hour.
However, a tax preparation service or preparer may be the right choice for those with more complicated tax returns. Tax professionals understand the complex tax code and can help individuals take advantage of all tax deductions and credits.
As with any profession, prices vary wildly, so exploring options in your area is essential. An excellent way to begin is by contacting CPA directories and professional associations, including collegiate accounting clubs. You’ll also want to ensure that the professional you choose has a PTIN and an EFIN, which is required for anyone who prepares federal or state returns. This is to protect the public from shady practitioners who don’t correctly file returns.
In addition to filing tax returns, a great CPA or tax professional can also provide valuable tax planning services. Tax planning is a year-round process considering the client’s financial situation, payroll, current and future regulations, and goals.
Whether you’re an individual or a business owner, tax planning can help you minimize your taxes and maximize your income after tax. This can include bunching expenses to maximize deductions, using tax-loss harvesting strategies to offset investment gains, increasing retirement plan contributions, or identifying other ways to reduce your tax liability.
Most qualified tax professionals offer separate tax preparation and tax planning services. Be sure to specify that you’re interested in tax planning when you contact a potential provider. This will ensure that you’re only charged for your needed services. Additionally, you can find a tax professional that offers both services by shopping around and asking for pricing upfront. Most CPAs will charge by the hour or on a flat fee basis.
Many tax pros now offer services that help clients resolve tax problems, such as past-due IRS taxes. Also known as IRS representation or tax problem recovery, these services include filing amended returns, negotiating an Offer in Compromise with the IRS, and providing lien and levy relief.
These services are essential for individuals and companies that owe back taxes and cannot pay their bills in full. They can also assist in getting penalties forgiven through an administrative waiver called first-time penalty abatement. To provide these services, a reputable tax resolution specialist will obtain critical financial data from their clients and determine the best course of action. They may also be able to put their client in Currently Not Collectible status, meaning that the IRS can’t legally try to collect on the debt while under this arrangement. This can be a lifesaver for people who are drowning in tax debt.