Don’t be fooled—April may seem like a long way off, but those sneaky taxes will creep up on you before you know it. Don’t wait until the very last minute to look for a tax preparer—begin looking now.  Where do you start? Here’s a beginner’s guideline on what to look for when on the hunt for a legitimate and reputable tax preparer.

  1. Who can do your taxes? If the first question you have for a tax preparer is, “How much is it going to cost me?”, chances are you aren’t looking for a CPA. Of course, it’s possible that you can fork over a $20 to the college kid down your street to do your 1040 EZs (if you dare), but for more complex tax returns, you can enlist the help of Enrolled Agents (who, according to Wikipedia, are “tax professionals recognized by the US Federal Government through tax payers dealing with the IRS”, CPAs (like us here at Simons Accountancy Corp) or tax attorneys.
  2. How much will your tax returns cost you? Everybody always wants a definite answer as to how much filing their tax return is going to cost them, and I always say that it depends. For example, a tax return for someone who owns one home and has a W-2 form will be much simpler than someone who is self-employed and owns five rentals. Tax filing fees depends on the complexity of your tax return. Always avoid tax preparers who base their fees on a percentage of your refund; this is an ethical violation for CPAs!
  3. How do I know my tax preparer will be a good fit? You never know at the beginning, so always schedule an initial meeting at your preparer’s office.  Doing this enables you the opportunity to see what kind of environment your preparer works in.  If his or her office is professional and organized, then you can assume that your taxes will be handled just as accordingly. If the office is messy and disorganized, then you might have to worry about your taxes getting lost in the piles of paperwork. At Simons Accountancy Corp, we always give free consultations; nothing is worse than figuring out you don’t want to work with a certain CPA, and then having to pay them for this revelation.
  4. How do I know if my tax preparer is reputable? Admittedly, it’s hard to find a tax preparer’s history online. Check their Yelp listings for recommendations, but also don’t be afraid to ask them for their personal references. Good accountants will always have references and will not be afraid to hand them over to you.

If you have any further questions, feel free to give Simons Accountancy Corp a call at 714-637-4552, or fill out our online contact form here. Remember, we do free consultations, so don’t be afraid to come in!