Choosing a tax professional is as vital to overall financial health as a doctor is on matters of physical health. A fancy title or elaborate office does not guarantee higher quality of service or knowledge on the part of that professional.
Warning number one – the franchise tax service
National franchises that prepare taxes can be alright for some clients, however almost all of them employ a variety of schemes to make a small fortune on clients with even the simplest tax return. The first of these is rapid refund and cash advance of a tax refund. Although the information is presented to the client in a very appealing fashion, the interest rate on some of these offerings is upward of ninety-nine percent. This is very profitable for the franchise even if clients are only taking the money for a very short duration. Think of a loan shark and one will have a better understanding of these programs. It makes perfect sense to just wait for the refund.
Selling “IRS audit protection insurance” is another ploy that franchise tax preparers use. If one really cannot sleep at night without it then by all means buy the insurance and rest easy. Generally it is a waste of money because a good tax return will not have any issues. When this service is offered ask the tax preparer if they anticipate a problem with the return and why if they do a good job would any issues arise. Beat them at their own game and see how quickly the situation turns around.
Warning number two – the super CPA
A CPA works very hard to earn such a title. Most are very good at what they do, but all are not experts in the area of income taxes. It is imperative to find a CPA specializing in the area of income taxes to get the best service and most accurate return. Make certain the CPA is willing to spend time going over an individualized plan. Also as a client, provide the CPA with organized records to save the cost of paying someone else to sort everything out.
Warning number three – an accountant is not always an accountant
Anyone can claim to be an accountant and prepare a tax return. Smaller firms are often the best solution for individuals and small business owners as they tend to provide personalized service and truly care about the clients’ financial well being. Just be mindful that everyone who puts a sign out around tax season is not necessarily an accountant. Interview a potential account carefully, ask for references, and find out if they are an enrolled agent with the IRS. Ask about how many audits they have been involved in and how many clients they have altogether.
Taxes can be quite a challenge and often require a professional. Choose carefully. The one who gets the client the biggest refund is not the best choice if this is done illegally. The client will be the one who suffers in the long run. Choose someone honest who will work for the client and do the best job possible for years to come.