According to a survey conducted by Nerdwallet some years back, about a third of businesses outsource tax preparation services. However, many of these businesses hardly know how to find the best service providers in this sector. Taxfyle makes it very easy for you to find the best tax preparation services whenever and wherever you need them.
The Nerdwallet survey found out that about 80% of those who outsourced tax preparation services never bothered to ask about the credentials of the firms they hired, while a whopping 75% never asked if the firm would represent them in case a tax audit is needed. This reality is unbelievable, given the amount of confidential information you need to share with your income tax preparer.
Below are five top tips on how to go about finding the best tax preparation services:
Ask for the Tax Identification Number
The revenue authorities require that any person who prepares or even offers assistance in the preparation of federal tax returns for payment should have a PTIN. This fact means that only those who volunteer their services aren’t required to have a PTIN. Therefore, it’s imperative to ask your income tax preparer to include his or her PTIN number on your prepared returns.
Your tax preparer should either have a CPA, law certificate or be a registered agent
It’s relatively easy to get a PTIN. Hence, you need to go a step further and find an accredited tax preparer. This should be someone who’s either a certified public accountant (CPA), an authorized attorney, a registered agent, or a graduate of the IRS Annual Filing Season Program. The program requires different degrees of study, exams, as well as continuing education for those undertaking it.
Searching the IRS directory might be one of the easiest ways to find the best tax preparation services near you. The directory contains service providers who have PTINs and IRS-accredited professional authorizations. Their database doesn’t include those with just PTINs and volunteer service providers.
Get connections in high places
Having membership or knowing people in the relevant professional associations such as The National Association of Enrolled Agents, National Association of Tax Professionals, The American Academy of Attorney CPAs, or American Institute of Certified Public Accountants is always a good idea. Most of these associations have strict codes of ethics, various accreditation programs, and professional conduct regulations.
Carry out fees comparison
Legitimate tax preparation service providers mostly charge by the hour. Therefore, you should be wary of those who charge according to the size of your refund, or claim that they can get you a better refund than others. In case of an IRS audit on your business, the tax preparation services can cost you an upward of $150 per hour. This rate is according to the National Society of Accountants.
Be wary of those who don’t do e-filing
The IRS demands that any tax preparation service provider who does over ten returns for customers should do electronic filing through the IRS e-filing system. If you discover that those offering you tax preparation services can’t offer e-filing, that should be a red flag showing that you’re not getting the best services.