5 Essential Questions to Ask Your Tax Preparer

If there’s one day that seems to come too fast each year, it would have to be April 15. Yet since tax day is one that none of us can afford to avoid, it’s important that we take all of the necessary steps that we can in order to be as prepared as possible. One of the best ways to do that is to hire a professional to prepare our taxes for us.

If you’ve never used a tax preparer before and you’d like a few helpful tips that can connect you to a reputable one, we’ve got five essential questions that we feel you should ask a tax preparer ahead of time below:

How much experience do you have? When you are entrusting someone to handle something as important as your taxes, you definitely want to make sure that they have a significant amount of experience. That’s why you should ask them things like how many years they have been doing taxes, where they got their training from and if they have any references that they’d be willing to share.

Do you have a PTIN? If you’re not familiar with what a PTIN is, it stands for Preparer Tax Identification Number. You need to ask the tax preparer you’re considering if they have this because it will prove that they are legally able to do your taxes and that they are recognized by the IRS. (That’s really important.)

What is your specialty? It can always work to your benefit to have a tax preparer who specializes in your profession. For instance, if you are self-employed, look for a tax preparer who works with others who are as well. Or, if you are an investor or you tend to own a lot of real estate, look for a tax preparer who knows how to find you the most deductions based on those things.

How much will your services cost? If you were to ask an accounting company like Accounting Freedom about what you should ask a tax preparer beforehand, we’re pretty sure that one of the things they would say is that you should ask them how much they charge. That’s because there are a lot of people who will find a good preparer, one who offers some pretty awesome tax preparation tips , and then once they get the preparer’s bill in the mail, they realize that they charged more than what they could actually afford. You can avoid this by inquiring about their fees ahead of time.

What happens if I’m audited? One thing that no one wants to experience is an audit. But if that happens to you, you need to know that you hired a tax preparer who will be willing to follow-up with the IRS until the matter is fully resolved. So, be sure to ask the tax preparer if they are someone who only does your taxes or if they are willing to deal with the IRS throughout the year as well. For more information on how to deal with an audit, visit Debt.org and put “how to deal with the IRS during an audit” in the search field.