If you're scratching your head on how to choose a tax professional, you're not alone. A recent survey by Nerd Wallet indicated that almost 80% of taxpayers don't check credentials when they hire a tax professional. Not checking qualifications may put you at risk for an audit, a mistake or worse. Also having a professional who is not admitted to represent you before the IRS will leave you high and dry when that audit comes.
When you hire your tax professional, you should look for a few key elements:
- Require that your tax professional be a Certified Public Accountant, Attorney or Enrolled Agent.
- Make sure your tax professional has a Preparer Identification Number (PTIN).
- See if your professional is a member of professional organizations and active in their continuing education.
The key to staying out of rough waters with your taxes is hiring the right professional from the start.
While hiring a local professional was the norm just a few years ago, the advent of cloud computing, document transfer, web conferencing and national certification for professionals means you can pick the best fit for you regardless of location.
Conduct an interview. See how your calls and emails are handled. Treat the selection process as if you were hiring an employee - because your tax professional should work FOR you.
The selection of a tax professional will make a huge difference on your tax resolution, tax preparation or tax audit defense outcome. By following these steps on how to choose a tax professional, you will be ahead of 80% of the population. And you'll be in the best position if you end up across the table from the IRS.