If this is your first year filing taxes as a business owner, you’re probably overwhelmed by things like deduction criteria and self-employment percentages. The good news is that an experienced tax specialist can take all of this chaos out of your hands. The bad news is that you have to find them first. If you’re in the market for a tax pro, here are six tips for finding someone calm, methodical and worthwhile.
1: Ask For Referrals
Don’t strike out blindly when searching for a tax consultant. This is someone who will be handling all your most sensitive personal and financial information, so you need to be 100 percent sure that you can trust them. Ask friends and colleagues if they ever receive help on their taxes. You can also tap the resources of established financial firms who offer tax help and business accounting services.
2: Check Their Credentials
Anyone can claim to be a tax guru, but only attorneys and certified public accountants (CPAs) are allowed to represent you in front of the IRS. Their expertise and real-world experience often eclipses everyone else in the business of tax preparation.
3: Be Wary of Big Claims
Tax consultants aren’t magicians. They can’t make legal, legitimate deductions appear out of thin air if your business doesn’t actually support them. Any consultant who tries to claim otherwise should be treated as either deluded or downright fraudulent.
4: Know How They Charge
In addition to getting a bottom-line cost about their services, you should also ask your tax preparer when and how they expect to be paid. Some ask for their fees upfront; others don’t want anything until you’ve actually received your return.
5: Bring The Receipts
A skilled tax professional will want every receipt, bank statement and credit card report you’ve received since last tax season. This isn’t done to be a nuisance; it’s actually a sign of diligence. They want to make sure you save the most money possible and aren’t slammed with penalties and interest rates because you’ve overlooked something.
6: Get Their Signature
Your specialist should affix their John Hancock at the end of a successfully prepared tax return. This means they’ve accepted responsibility for the contents of the forms, so if anything goes wrong later, they’ll be in the same hot water as you. Consider it a vote of confidence and a sign of trustworthiness that they’re willing to take the risk.