Dealing with taxes is an inevitable part of adult life. One way or another, taxes will find their way to you. However, not everybody has the necessary skills, resources, and time to deal with tax-related paperwork, giving most taxpayers that overwhelming feeling when tax filing season comes around.
It takes high-performing professionals to make the filing of tax returns run smoothly. They must be knowledgeable and alert with great attention to detail. These are the top qualities of a tax consultant.
It’s OK to admit you need a little extra support in tax filing—that’s what the best tax consultants are here for. When looking to hire one, you should know the essential traits and skills that will be beneficial for your tax issues or situation. The article below will discuss the key characteristics of a skilled tax consultant and how they can help you all year round.
What is a Tax Consultant?
A tax consultant is an expert who helps you manage your tax status, reduce your tax liability, and capitalize on tax deductions. While often mistaken to be the same, a tax consultant’s role is different from a tax accountant.
A tax accountant’s job focuses on preparing financial documents and analyzing budgets. They may also be knowledgeable about tax laws and provide general tax advice. On the other hand, a tax consultant specializes in tax laws and financial-related counseling. They usually start as accountants and then expand their expertise in taxation.
Tax consultants may undergo special training on personal and business taxation, domestic and overseas transactions, and inheritance and estate planning. All these specializations further strengthen the credentials of a tax consultant, allowing them to help you out in complex situations.
Look for a Tax Consultant with These 7 Qualities
Filing taxes as an expat can get complicated. But, you don’t have to go through it alone. Tax consultants can be of service to guide you through the process. Below are some tips on selecting the right tax service partner.
1. Available and communicative
They should be readily available to handle your tax situation. You don’t want to deal with any last-minute scramble or to almost misfile a return. If there are any mishaps, clear and concise communication is essential. Effective communication can ensure your comfort and your tax consultant’s professionalism.
As an expat, you might have to deal with different time zones, and questions about your tax might arise anytime. Establish a schedule and communication channels to avoid getting lost in translation.
One of the major reasons you may hire a tax advisor is you want quality advice. How can you guarantee this service? Look for pros with the right certifications, mainly:
- Enrolled Agent – They’re tax specialists licensed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to represent you. They are the recognized experts in taxation.
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – While not all CPAs specialize in taxation, most have a general knowledge of income taxes.
These people undergo extensive training and continuing education to obtain the titles mentioned above and maintain their credentials. Therefore, you can rest easy knowing you’ll receive the best possible advice.
3. Credible experience and impressive credentials
In some instances, tax firms pop up during tax season and disappear when it’s over, leaving expats in distress for the rest of the year. Do additional research on how long the firm has been in business. Have their consultants received any awards or commendations?
Reviews also help you better understand what these experts are like with their previous clients. Were they personable, fast, and efficient? Looking at their experiences and credentials will give you an insight into how your working relationship with them will be.
4. Knowledgeable of different tax systems and processes
It’s a given that tax consultants should know different tax systems and processes. It’s how they’ll be able to do their job properly. However, having knowledge and qualifications in multiple states sets a good tax team apart from an average one.
5. Transparent with fees
You can differentiate a reputable firm from a sketchy one by observing how transparent they are with their fees. They should be able to provide clear disclosure of their fees. While prices can shift on a case-to-case basis, they should commit to their quote and ensure there are no hidden fees that’ll surface later on. Credible tax consultants even offer free tax quotes.
6. Aware of your financial goals
Working with a tax consultant entitles them to know more about you, your family, and your financial goals. All these are necessary to give you the perfect advice to bring you closer to your goals.
Whether paying off your debts or expanding your side hustle, your tax consultant should consult with you and understand what you want to achieve.
7. Trustworthy in handling personal and sensitive information
Imagine all the kinds of personal and sensitive information you’ll be disclosing with your tax consultant. They’ll have access to how much money you make, how much you contribute to your church tithes, or how big your mortgage is. Since they handle your sensitive information, trust is key to this relationship.
Not All Tax Consultants are Equal
Taxes are complicated on their own. Add expat taxes to the mix, and you’ve got an overwhelming task. It’s easy to hire a tax consultant to ease your burdens during tax filing season, but choosing the right one is crucial.
Not all tax consultants and firms are the same. You need to research so you can pick the one that’ll serve you best. By asking these tax advisors the essential questions, you’ll be able to filter which firms are worth your time and money.
Reduce or eliminate tax mistakes from your return by working with Tax Samaritan, a tax resolution partner that offers best-in-class service.