If you are a U.S. citizen working overseas, finding the right tax service provider is essential. You are looking for a provider that understands how to prepare expat taxes and one that can get the job done professionally. After all, you want your taxes done right so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor when you return home.
Don’t know where to start when looking for tax services for expats? Below are the six characteristics you should look for in a tax service partner:
1. Excellent Track Record
A tax service provider with an excellent track record proves that they’ve been in the business long enough to understand the intricacies of preparing taxes for expats. This also means that they have provided reliable service throughout the years.
There are no exact rules for determining how many years of service should count for a good track record. Professionals like Tax Samaritan have assisted expats with their taxes since 1997, giving them a strong background in this specialization. Checking third-party testimonials and reviews are a great place to start.
2. Professional Accreditations
When looking for a tax service provider, it is essential to look for a professional accreditation. These accreditations—especially those issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other relevant institutions—further bolster a provider’s credibility and service level.
Some of Tax Samaritan team’s accreditations include the Enrolled Agent (EA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Both accreditations guarantee that the business has the right to represent you before the IRS for any income tax concerns, tax audits, and the like.
Tax Samaritan also has an A+ accreditation rating with the Better Business Bureau and over 90 5-star reviews on Google. These ratings from third-party sites are a strong testament to high customer satisfaction.
3. Clear Tax Strategy
A clear tax strategy can help you save money on your taxes and ensure that the correct paperwork is filed on your behalf. The strategy can differ depending on how simple or complex your tax situation is.
For employees, this can range from claiming a Foreign Earned Income Exclusion to the proper structuring and organization of business entities. For entrepreneurs and business owners, you will need a different strategy for your personal and business taxes.
A reliable tax service provider clearly understands your needs and provides you with the appropriate tax strategy. They should also be able to explain their overall tax strategy to you in clear and easily understood terms and provide the necessary documentation. This keeps all tax proceedings transparent and leaves room for accountability.
4. Clear Deadlines and Commitment to Following Them
While tax season may arrive on a consistent schedule for the U.S., tax season dates for expats are not as reliable. Given these differences, your chosen tax service provider should provide you with clear deadlines for the overall process of preparing your taxes.
Equally important is that your tax service provider stays committed to following these deadlines. Staying within the timeline ensures that all requirements are met while making the tax preparation process go as smoothly as possible. It also prevents you from missing any critical deadlines related to your tax compliance.
5. Protection of Personal Information
Many expats cannot walk into a physical office to settle their taxes, so they rely on digital means to get tax preparation done. Reliable tax service partners should have advanced cybersecurity solutions that ensure that all personal information is protected from cyberattacks and other digital risks.
Aside from digital protection, seek out details on how your tax service provider guarantees data security internally. A good tax service provider will be transparent on these details, from the number of people involved in the process to their specific roles in preparing and checking your tax returns.
Other relevant information for data privacy and protection includes how your provider gathers data on its customers and how your documentation is stored for future reference.
6. IRS Representation
There are various reasons why a client may need representation with the IRS— questions about the return, facing an audit, collection, or appeal. For tax-related problems, it pays to work with a tax service provider who can stand up for you.
Your chosen tax service provider must be registered with the IRS and have a PTIN. Credentials, such as the Enrolled Agent (EA) credential, certify that the professionals have the full rights to represent you with the IRS. This covers tax professionals like CPAs and tax attorneys as well. Do your research on your provider, or ask for the relevant accreditations to ensure you are working with these professionals.
Ease Through Tax Season with the Right Partner
As an expat, tax season can become more complicated than it should. The right tax service provider should make your tax preparation process worry-free. Having a good tax professional who is consistent, reliable, and has all the necessary credentials can make all the difference during tax season.
Take the first step to making taxes easier by working with Tax Samaritan, a leading global provider of U.S. expat tax services trusted by thousands of taxpayers worldwide.