Should I Hire a Professional for Tax Services?
Leaves are turning; your favorite football team is on; Halloween decor is out; fall is finally making itself known. Which means tax services are probably the farthest thing from your mind. But this is exactly the time to start planning.
Why should you think about taxes now? After all, you won’t see your W-2’s for months. But if you wait until January, (or later!) it may cause you delays that you can’t afford. Starting the planning process now will ensure a smoother ride as you enter a bustling tax preparation season. Finding the right tax professional now can lessen the possibility of any surprises down the road.
Do you need help making decisions about end of year finances? Have a new business that needs a payroll system put into place? Or do you simply need experienced tax preparers to help maximize your returns? Even if you’re unsure about what information you need, turning to a firm with experience in a wide variety of tax services will help you understand your needs.
You should ask plenty of questions to ensure that your tax professional has the proper experience, doesn’t charge unexpected fees, and can navigate through any applicable tax laws and regulations. Professional tax preparers are well versed at keeping up with the ever-changing tax code.
6 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Tax Services Professional
Here are some questions you can ask to make sure you’re finding the right tax professional for you:
- Make sure they have a PTIN (IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number). This is required by the IRS to file taxes that they have prepared. However, this does not prove that they are certified, or experienced.
- Ask about their credentials and experience. Credentials may vary depending on your state, but ideally, a reputable agent will be certified and/or licensed. You might also be interested in knowing whether they are involved in continuing education or belong to professional organizations.
- Ask about fees and the return process upfront. You should avoid agents who tie your costs to your total refund because there is a lack of transparency about the cost until after you’ve already filed. Along the same lines, make sure your return will come to your bank account and not the preparer.
- Understand how they’re going to file your taxes. While they’ll be doing the legwork, you should be familiar with the process so that you can spot anything out of the ordinary. They should e-file your returns; this is the most efficient process and those who file 10 or more returns are required to do so. They should also ask for w-2’s and other documentation; it’s a red flag if they file only using your last pay stub. They should not ask you to sign a blank tax form, fail to sign it themselves or only use their PTIN, or refuse to give you a copy.
- Inquire if they provide audit assistance. If not, you may have to pay extra to hire a professional to accompany you to an auditor to speak to the IRS on your behalf.
- Make sure you can contact them after you file, including after the filing deadline.
If you’re looking for professional tax services in the Mid-Ohio Valley or Northern West Virginia, we’ll be happy to answer these questions for you! We can serve you in several locations in West Virginia and Southeast Ohio.
Call us today at (740) 373-0056.