HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I hope everyone has had a safe and enjoyable Holiday Season. Tax Season is upon us and I thought for the first Tip of the New Year it should be How to Select a Tax Preparer. I have seen some crazy things over the years regarding taxes and I have narrowed it down to three things you should look for in selecting a Tax Preparer.
- Years at current location
- Fee Structure
The tax preparer should have one of the following credentials (CPA, Attorney, Enrolled Agent). In my opinion these credentials are the most important because these are the credentials that allow the tax preparer to represent you in the case of an IRS Audit. These credentials are obtained by passing an exam, which shows competency, and in order to maintain these credentials you must take continuing professional education courses. Basically all this means is that the person isn’t a PART-TIME tax preparer they have invested their time and money into this profession.
YEARS AT CURRENT LOCATION
The office location is very important if the tax preparer moves from office to office every year there is something wrong. Tax offices shouldn’t just pop up for tax preparation during tax season and then come April 16 their closed down. Inquire as to how long they have been in their current location. I have had some clients that started with me in the tax season of 2000 and decided to go elsewhere then 7 years later in 2007 they were able to call me at my same number or show up at my same location. BUYER BEWARE!!!! if your tax preparer moves often.
Some tax preparers are going to be angry with me for informing you of what a fair price is for preparing your taxes. I have seen some outrageous fees throughout the years and it frustrates me that people don’t know what a fair price is. I don’t have a problem with a tax preparer making money but MY GOODNESS!!! there is no need to ROB!! people. The fair price for a tax return with no additional schedules is between 95-130 dollars this should include electronic filing (WHICH IS FREE BY THE WAY) and direct deposit of your refund. If you are paying more than that then you should ask the preparer what added value are you receiving. The returns with additional schedules the fair price is between 20-30 dollars per schedule. For example if you have a taxpayer that files a Schedule A (Itemize Deductions) their total fee should be between 115-140 dollars. For those taxpayers that prepare the returns themselves the 1040 form can be filed online for a flat fee of $25. You are more than welcome to view my fee schedule to do some comparison shopping.
I hope this information has provided you with some insight into the tax preparation industry. If you have any questions feel free to email or call our office.
The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. Proverbs 3:19