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Choosing A Tax Preparer

Tips for finding a qualified tax professional

Do you prepare your own taxes? While this can save you money in the short term, it can end up costing you big time if you don't fully understand the tax laws or make a mistake on a form.

Hiring a qualified tax professional to complete your tax forms for you can be a smart move. He/she can help you find all of the deductions and other tax saving measures that you're entitled to, as well as make sure all the proper forms are completed correctly.

While there are numerous tax preparers available, there are relatively few qualified, experienced tax professionals. Here are a few questions to ask when looking for one:

  1. What are your credentials?

    Ask potential candidates where they got their training and what certifications they currently hold.
  2. How long have you been in the tax preparation business?

    Determine how much relevant experience he/she has in the income tax field.
  3. How thorough are you?

    Find out if he/she plans to take the time to carefully analyze your tax situation and prepare your taxes accordingly. Many tax preparers simply fill out a 1040A or 1040EZ form taking the standard deduction. This could cost you.
  4. How heavy is your current workload?

    If he/she is covered up with work, your tax return might not receive the attention it deserves.
  5. Can you supply references?

    Any experienced and competent tax professional should be able to supply a list of satisfied clients. Get one and follow up with the references.

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