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5 Questions To Ask When Hiring A Tax Preparer

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If you're thinking about hiring a tax preparer/accountant for your business to prepare taxes, I've put together five questions that will help you make the right choice.

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5 Questions To Ask When Hiring A Tax Preparer

  1. 1. 5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Tax Preparer
  2. 2. Don't assume only big companies need the services of a tax preparer. Even small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) may not effectively prepare and return taxes without help from these experts.
  3. 3. The significant benefits of getting your tax preparation done in tax season with the help of a professional are the convenience and accuracy. Think about the time and money you could save from trying to follow IRS guidelines and avoid overpaying taxes while identifying tax deductions you are eligible for.
  4. 4. Additionally, tax preparation software always require some experience and assistance with complex finances and even with some simper tax situations. This all makes hiring a tax preparer a smart move for your business because they help you see the big picture of your business finance.
  5. 5. But, how do you choose the best person when so many tax preparers out there? Follow these tips and questions that will help you select the right prospect when choosing your tax preparer.
  6. 6. Q1: What is your expertise and industry knowledge of my business? The first thing to ask a tax preparer is about their expertise - what certification and specialization they hold and what tax training and tests they have passed. Each CPA is licensed by the state’s board of accountancy to act as a public accountant. Note that not all CPAs specialize in taxes, and they can offer a wide variety of accounting services such as auditing and financial planning.
  7. 7. The alternative is to hire an Enrolled Agent (EA) who are a licenced tax practitioners and have the rights to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Understanding the distinction between the different types of accounting professionals will help you hire the best prospect for your accounting work. It’s also important to take into the consideration that every business has its own accounting and taxation requirement. So it’s good idea to choose a professional who has a prior experience with the industry you are in.
  8. 8. Q2: Do you have your PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number)? PTIN is a number issued by the IRS to the tax return preparers which is used in the Paid Preparer section of a tax return that preparer prepared for compensation. Anyone who prepares tax returns for compensation is required by the IRS to have a valid 2018 PTIN. To avoid being ripped off, you must ask a tax prepare about their PTIN in advance.
  9. 9. Q3: How Do You Determine Your Fees? Of course, you need to know how much you'll be charged. The fees of your tax preparer will vary depending on how complex your returns are. Try to understand in detail how he/she typically bills for the clients. Do they charge a flat fees or have some specific charge basis on the tasks? Some will charge a flat fee and some will charge by the hour. It’s good to know if they have some discounts and additional services in the package.
  10. 10. Q4: How Much of Your Time Can We Reasonably Expect? Ask your accountant/tax preparer how much time your business can reasonably expect throughout the year. Ideally, you should look for someone who is available for your business need in tax season and beyond. You also need to understand how quickly you can expect to hear back in case a question arises and what communication platform they’ll choose to communicate – phone, chat or a face to face meeting.
  11. 11. Q5: What Services Other Than Taxes, Do You Offer? You should understand exactly what are you getting when you pay for preparing taxes and what timeline is for each service. Make sure to ask not only about services they offer in regard to tax preparation such as e- filing, preparing estimates etc. but also what extra they can deliver to your business such as financial planning, advising, investment consulting and retirement planning. For example, a CPA can help your business in ways you never dreamed possible by advising on taxes, financial planning and investment consulting.
  12. 12. Bonus: Some more questions to ask Here’s a quick list of things you should also ask when meeting with a tax preparer: 1. Ask how they handle audits from IRS 2. Ask how many returns they do each year 3. Ask for their clients and few references in the industry to know their reputation 4. Ask if they have a website and helpful resources on web 5. Ask if they have some reviews from existing clients 6. Ask how can you communicate a question or a problem after tax season is over 7. Ask what technologies they use or recommend to file tax returns
  13. 13. The list is long but worth asking because choosing a good tax preparer requires a good research and efforts. And a good accountant/tax prepare would not mind answering these questions. The answers will determine if he/she trustworthy enough for your business.
  14. 14. About Us Ace Cloud Hosting is an Intuit authorized Premier Reseller and commercial host for QuickBooks software and a leading tax software hosting provider to CPAs, bookkeepers, startups and SMBs. As winner of 2016 Accountex USA User Favorite Awards for hosting category, we provide secure cloud accounting solutions and hosting of software such as Lacerte, Drake, ProSystem fx Tax etc. that enable startups and SMBs to run their whole accounting better. Visit us at www.acecloudhosting.com or call us at +1-855-219-0431
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  16. 16. References How to Select the Perfect Tax Preparer for Your Business – Intuit 4 Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Accountant – Intuit 11 Questions To Ask When Hiring A Tax Preparer – Forbes Why Choose CPAs as Your Business Advisor – Ace Cloud Hosting The Pros and Cons of Professional Tax Preparation - IRS Image Credit: Pixabay.com, Pexels.com, and Unsplash.com