Should I hire a tax professional to do my taxes?
A common question I receive from clients is why should I hire a Tax Professional?
The answer is, It Depends!
Not all Tax Professionals are created equal.
Until recently, there were no Federal regulations on the tax preparation industry.
A Tax Professional and a Tax Preparer are not necessarily one in the same.
Let me explain.
There are a few “Big Box” Tax Preparation companies that are nationwide. These “Big Box” companies have mainly seasonal employees, who I would say have a limited tax background and education. These seasonal Tax Prepares take a 6 to 12 week course, 2 or 3 classes a week. Many of the classes are on-line. Are the basic tax course, these individuals are preparing your tax return.
Most of these preparers have other employment and do “Tax Preparation” a few weeks a year.
If you are going to go to a ” Big Box” companies, you might as well do your taxes yourself with any of the software programs on the market!
The main reason theses so called ” Tax Preparers” can complete your return is because the software they use tells the preparer exactly what questions to ask you, which is almost the same as you doing with one of the many software programs available.
Generally, I would classify a Tax Professional an Enrolled Agent, a CPA or a Tax Attorney.
The Enrolled Agent, CPA or Attorney are generally the only Tax Professionals that will be able to represent you before the IRS if there is an examination of your tax return.
If you have a basic tax return, you can save the money by doing it yourself, but you may not save the time effort and frustration. I can change my own oil, but it is easier and more convenient to take it in for service.
Also, price is not necessarily an indication of the quality of the tax preparation. I have encountered many individuals who feel they need to spend several hundred dollars at a prestigious accounting firm. It is more of a status symbol for them.
The best Tax Professional is the one you feel most comfortable with and trust. Check with friends, do an on-line search, or check with the Better Business Bureau.
Do go to the preparer who promises you the largest refund because if it sounds to good to be true it probably is.
I worked for the IRS for nearly 8 years, I have a law degree with a specialization in taxation, a masters in taxation and a masters level certificate in accountancy.
Who would you call a “Tax Professional” ? Me or the person at the “Big Box” company,
If you need tax preparation or help with a tax problem, who are you going to call: