A very important step you should take when preparing your taxes is to choose the right preparer. If you choose well, you will avoid possible problems with your tax preparation, and this will not only help you make the right decisions, but also give you the tools to plan properly and answer to all your questions. You, as a taxpayer, are legally responsible for your tax return, so you must choose the tax preparer very carefully.
Check the Credentials
Make sure you have the right level of preparation and have the required credentials. The concerned tax regulatory and collection department requires the tax preparers to meet the certain educational requirements and obtain a tax preparer identification number.
Ask you tax preparer if he is linked with an organization that provides the level of education required by the concerned tax department. If you wish, you can also ask him to show his certificates to you. There are three types of tax preparers. Depending on his experience and academic preparation, he will have his fees. A CPA or Certified Public Accountant is a licensed accountant granted by the state to practice. There are also Registered Agents, who are authorized by the concerned tax department as tax preparers after passing a rigorous examination in the matter. Finally, there are tax preparers who must meet the minimum requirement required by the concerned tax department to work as a preparer.
Ask for the References
There is nothing more important than a reference when deciding to choose a preparer. Ask your family, friends or other clients what their experience with your preparer has been. If you get good references, these can be the good indicators. Call the consumer services department and find out if there is any claim against the preparer you are considering. If this is a CPA, you can confirm that his license is current with the state and if he is a Registered Agent, contact the concerned tax department’s professional liability office.
Question about Fees
Ask for a detailed list of the prices that includes the cost of each form. The concerned tax department requires the preparer to have a price list in a visible area that allows the taxpayer to view the prices before entering into an agreement. This list must be detailed and include the price for each of the main forms, for example, the cost of form 1040, forms 1099-MISC, Form C, among others. It is imperative that you ask about any additional charges. If you are considering to apply for advance repayment loan, ask for a detailed list of all the charges related to the loan. Keep in mind that these services are usually expensive and often the taxpayers do not know how much they are paying for it. You have the right to ask for the details before accepting.
How Much Should You Pay For Tax Preparation?
Determining whether the fee of your professional tax preparer or certified public accountant is reasonable can be a challenge. There is no specific method for determining reasonable charges. They can use different methods to determine their fees, but the method used should be fair and consistent for all the customers.
The total cost should also be detailed and be posted in an area where customers can view it. Of course, you should ask all the questions that you consider necessary until you are satisfied. In general, the difference in prices depends on the complexity of the tax return.
There are several methods used to determine the cost such as the following;
- Basic cost for each form, for example
- Standard fee for a simple return
- Standard fee for a return including the long form
- Price per hour whose cost will depend on the number of hours it takes the preparer to complete your tax returns. If the number of hours ends up being more than estimated, you may end up paying more than agreed.
- Total charge based on the value of the work, for example, an audit, an offer of transaction.
- Standard fee for basic payroll and charges added for the additional forms
Average Tax Preparation Cost
Although there is no accurate method to calculate, a study by the National Society of Accountants found that the average fees charged by professional and accounting preparers is $128 per payroll and $ 229 for a detailed form including the long form.
You have the right to receive an estimate of the cost of your payroll or any other service you require before agreeing to work with the preparer. Ask him to detail the charges. If you are looking for the best price, it would be best to consult with several preparers and compare their fees based on the same service.
Once you have done your analysis, you can decide which one suits you most. A slightly higher cost may be offset by better work and service. Only by consulting with the preparer, you will be able to realize which is best suited to your needs. For professional assistance, I would recommend Thomtax APN service.
Availability of the Preparer
You should make sure that the preparer will be available after the tax season in case you have any questions or an audit. There are many offices that are open only during the tax season and remain closed for the rest of the year. Your tax preparer should inspire you with confidence and must demonstrate that he is competent in the tax area. If, for any reason you have doubts, ask about your concerns. They are professional and offer customer service which is paramount. If you feel that your concerns are not being answered and your questions are not answered, it may not be appropriate decision to hire such as a service or individual. If, on the other hand, you find a competent one who attends to your needs, devotes the necessary time and complies with the law, you are in the right place.