Top Five Questions Before Hiring A Tax Professional
When hiring a tax professional there are several questions that you should ask to narrow down to the cream of the crop.
However, the bottom line is that hiring a tax professional is a personal choice and ultimately you want to then find the right match or connection – there’s no one size fits all.
You want to find the right tax professional.
A professional that you will hopefully have a long-lasting, fruitful and profitable relationship with – one that will save you money on your taxes and more…
Here’s a list of our top five questions that we recommend you should inquire about before hiring a tax professional:
- What Is Your Tax Credential? An enrolled agent (EA) has earned the privilege of representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service by either passing a three-part comprehensive IRS test or through experience as a former IRS employee. EA status is the highest credential the IRS awards and the sole credential focused on the subject of taxes (CPAs are more broadly focused on Accounting and Attorneys more broadly focused on Law). EAs must adhere to ethical standards and complete 72 hours of continuing education courses every three years.
- What Happens If I Get Audited? How will the tax professional handle an audit or examination from a taxing authority – the IRS or state? Do they provide any representation? Can they represent you? Note: Not all tax professionals are eligible to represent taxpayers before the IRS.
- Do You Offer Year-Round Service? Most tax professionals close up shop after tax season and then go on vacation the rest of the year. Will you be able to get in touch with them the rest of the year? Make sure that you can.
- Do You Have References? Ask for testimonials and/or Better Business Bureau (BBB) review information on the business. Make sure that they have been around for a while. There should be overwhelmingly positive reviews, but having a few negative reviews is normal and to be expected.
- Do You Have A PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number)? This is a very important question when working with all tax professionals but even more so with overseas tax professionals. ALL tax professionals that prepare a federal tax returns are required to have a PTIN by the IRS. Check the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers
to confirm that your tax selected tax professional has a PTIN. In addition, you can also search and confirm for other credentials, such as Enrolled Agent or EA.
Our goal at Tax Samaritan is to provide the best counsel, advocacy and personal service for our clients. We are not only tax preparation and representation experts, but strive to become valued business partners. Tax Samaritan is committed to understanding our client’s unique needs; every tax situation is different and requires a personal approach in providing realistic and effective solutions.
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Tax Samaritan is a team of Enrolled Agents with over 25 years of experience focusing on US tax preparation and representation. We maintain this tax blog where all articles are written by Enrolled Agents. Our main objective is to educate US taxpayers on their tax responsibilities and the selection of a tax professional. Our articles are also designed to help taxpayers looking to self prepare, providing specific tips and pitfalls to avoid.
When looking for a tax professional, choose carefully. We recommend that you hire a credentialed tax professional such as Tax Samaritan that is an Enrolled Agent (America’s Tax Experts). If you are a US taxpayer overseas, we further recommend that you seek a professional who is experienced in expat tax preparation, like Tax Samaritan (most tax professionals have limited to no experience with the unique tax issues of expat taxpayers).
Randall Brody is an enrolled agent, licensed by the US Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the IRS for audits, collections and appeals. To attain the enrolled agent designation, candidates must demonstrate expertise in taxation, fulfill continuing education credits and adhere to a stringent code of ethics.
Every effort has been taken to provide the most accurate and honest analysis of the tax information provided in this blog. Please use your discretion before making any decisions based on the information provided. This blog is not intended to be a substitute for seeking professional tax advice based on your individual needs.