Tips for picking your tax professional

There’s that little coffee shop that is your favorite place to grab a latte. Or maybe you have a favorite hairstylist that is the only person you will go to after one too many bad haircuts from a chain salon. But what kind of relationship do you have with your tax professional? If you don’t have a favorite already, it’s worth your effort to find one.

Having some one that you feel comfortable with and trust is an absolute must when it comes to your taxes. Because of the IRS due diligence requirements, tax professionals are required to ask increasingly probing questions about your home and personal life when claiming certain credits such as Earned Income Credit or the Child Tax Credit. Even if you aren’t claiming these credits, having a tax professional that cares about you as an individual and knows your situation, goals, and needs, can help you do some tax planning which could lead to major tax savings over the course of your lifetime. Plus, it’s a good feeling to have some one you already know and trust in your corner to help you take the necessary next steps if you ever receive a letter from the IRS.

Some of my favorite tax bloggers have some really good tips for finding the right tax professional for your needs. (Links in the quotes below)

“You don’t want a know-it-all tax professional. It is okay for her to say she doesn’t know the answer and will need to look it up. This is normal! If the candidate never needs to research they are either a prodigy or an idiot and I’m not betting on prodigy.”
– The Wealthy Accountant

I couldn’t have said it better myself, Wealthy Accountant. Research and continuing education is one of the most important aspects of what we do.

“The key, as with hiring any professional, is to ask questions. Ideally, you’d establish a relationship – remember, you’re trusting this person with your personal and financial details.”
– Tax Girl

Even the IRS as a good list to help you find the right person for you and tips to help you avoid “fly-by-night” preparers or scammers who would take advantage of you.

Ask about Service Fees. Avoid preparers who base fees on a percentage of the refund or who boast bigger refunds than their competition.”
– IRS Tax Tips