Questions to Ask Your Tax Preparer

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Posted on 01/25/2011

You’ve probably already noticed tax preparation companies popping up in strip malls and storefronts all over the place. But how do you know if your tax preparer is a good fit? Asking questions like these will help.


How long have you been in the tax business? - Experience can often be worth far more than a fancy degree. Find out if 2011 is their first tax season or their twentieth. You’ll want to make sure they have a few years under their belt.


What are your credentials? - When it comes to tax preparers, there is an extremely wide range of accepted qualifications. They could have taken some tax classes, or they could be a full blown CPA (certified public accountant). Find out where your tax preparer falls in this range.


Do you have a specialty? - Tax code is as long as ten copies of War and Peace and more complicated than the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle. Because it’s so vast, often tax preparers specialize in a particular area like real estate or small business. Find out what your tax preparer’s focus is and find out if it matches your needs.


How much do you charge? - For most of us, cost is an issue. Ask how much you can expect to dish out in order to get your taxes completed. And if the tax preparer sets fees based on your refund find someone else. No matter who does your taxes, your refund shouldn’t change.


Can I contact you with questions? - The more complex your situation, the more important it is to have a tax preparer that can answer your questions throughout the year. Find out if they’ll be available in August as well as April.


By Alison Storm


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