Can’t figure out how to find the right tax professional for you? You should interview anyone who will be working with you. Below are my top questions that I recommend you ask.
1. What is your tax background?
This is a great question to ask to see if they have ever handled taxes like your situation. This is a great way also to pinpoint their level of experience and credentials. If they are new to doing taxes, find out if they have a mentor or boss involved to help. Don’t be afraid to ask.
2. Have you ever prepared tax returns for ….?
Fill in the blank for your situation. It's important to find a tax preparer that is familiar with your industry. Finding a tax professional that knows your industry well, can save you money! They may know uncommon tax deductions or credits related to your industry.
3. How are your fees determined?
Some tax preparers charge based on the how hard your return will be or others may have a set fee. Whichever way they do charge, be sure they are clear on what they will be doing for you and that there are no “hidden fees”.
4. How and When will I receive a copy of my return?
Make sure you get a deadline of when they'll have your return ready. If you give your stuff last minute, expect them to file an extension. They should give you an idea of when it gets finished. If they can’t give you a timeline or a copy of your return, that is a huge red flag.
5. What is the best way to reach you after tax season, if I happen to have any questions?
This is a biggie! Be sure you are able to reach your tax preparer after tax season, should any questions or concerns come up. Find out the best way to contact them and if they are going out of town, will they inform you.
Do you provide tax counseling throughout the year?
A tax professional that has you as a client should be reaching out to you throughout the year. Reviewing your monthly/quarterly financials, they should be providing you with advice. This advice should be preparing you for tax planning and tax savings throughout the year. Saving you a surprise or hassle come tax season.
These are a few major questions I would start thinking about asking. For more tips, check out this article on the IRS website.
*This post was originally posted January 2016, but since been updated.