IRS Advisor Checklist: Picking an IRS Tax Advisor
The US tax code is complex and can be confusing even for a person who takes the time to read it. Having a professional who can handle tax matters for you can save you considerable stress and money. If you decide to deal with your tax returns yourself, you could leave money on the table due to missed tax breaks.
How do I choose an IRS tax advisor?
Hiring an IRS tax advisor gives you an advantage. How do you find the right expert, though? What makes a tax consultant worth your money? A good tax professional should do more than just file your taxes. Any individual with an IRS PTIN (Prepare Tax Identification number) can prepare returns. Therefore, you need to look for a lot more.
This IRS advisor checklist can help you. This guide highlights some of the essentials to consider in looking for the right IRS Tax advisor for you.
IRS Advisor Checklist
Consider the Qualifications
You want an advisor with the correct credentials. The industry has three main professionals from which to choose. Certified Public Accountants have certification from the state boards of accountancy.
CPAs can specialize in different areas, including tax preparation. Enrolled agents have to take a 3-part examination and pass a background check to get a license from the IRS. Licensed tax attorneys are members of the state bar.
These different tax experts are part of professional bodies that impose codes of conduct and issue disciplinary actions. Whichever one you pick, ensure that they have a valid license.
Check the Reputation and History
Unfortunately, the increased demand for tax experts has led to an influx of frauds in the industry. Always look up a tax advisor before retaining their services.
Research their professional conduct thoroughly. Are there any complaints or disciplinary actions? Find objective testimonials and reviews.
If you are hiring a company, check it out on the Better Business Bureau. You want assurances that you get to work with a capable, ethical and credible professional.
The accountancy field is not short of certified and qualified experts. However, an effective tax consultant should offer experience as well. You need an IRS tax advisor who is familiar with your specific issues.
If tax returns are the bulk of the work, the professional that you hire should be an expert in the field. The same applies if you are a small business owner, an employee with stock options, or a young professional buying your first home.
Your tax requirements will dictate the type of experience to consider. If you require an advisor who can do a little bit of everything, you can easily find one.
Find Out About Service Fees
Of course, you must know how much it will cost you to hire the advisor. Ask about the fee structure before hiring. Most tax consultants charge according to the amount of work they do.
Therefore, if you only need your returns completed, you pay for that service only. Others have hourly fee structures or charge lump sum services. Weigh the benefits of the different structures.
Know your budget then settle on an advisor who meets it. Avoid tax professionals who charge per refund. Be cautious about compensation agreements that leave loopholes for conflicts of interest.
Evaluate Your Comfort Levels
The relationship between a tax consultant and a client is based on trust. You have to be comfortable with your advisor first to begin building that trust.
During the first meeting, ask many questions as positive. Gauge the consultant’s responses. Does your advisor shy away from hard questions? Bring all your records and see how the tax consultant approaches the issues at hand.
IRS Advisor Checklist Useful Resource
IRS advisor checklist is a useful resource when looking for professional help with your finances. Educate yourself on what matters when choosing a tax advisor. Whether it’s filling your tax returns or setting up a new business venture, get the right assistance.