Preparing your taxes can be complicated, especially if you have to do more than a simple return, which is why it makes sense to have a tax consulting company help you prepare your taxes. You want to make sure you are adding all the right financial information to your taxes and that you are taking the right deductions so that your tax bill is correct.
#1: Ask for a Preparer Tax Identification Number
Anyone who helps or assists in any manner with taxes and receives compensation for it has to have their own Preparer Tax Identification Number or PTIN. They are also required to write down their PTIN on your returns to show that you received help and who helped you with your returns. A PTIN puts the responsibility for your taxes to be prepared correctly not just on you, but also on the tax consultant you pay to assist you with your taxes.
Someone who volunteers to help people with their taxes and doesn't receive any compensation doesn't have to have a PTIN.
#2: Look for a Credentialed Preparer
Completing taxes is not an easy task, which is why you want the tax consultant you pay to help you with your taxes to be someone who has financial training. There are a few different types of credentialed preparers who can act as tax consultants. For example, a certified public accountant or a licensed tax attorney are two professionals with financial training who can assist you with your taxes. You can also look for an enrolled agent who has participated in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program, which helps educate enrolled agents on tax codes so they can adequately assist individuals with their taxes.
#3: Look for a Tax Consultant Who E-Files
E-filing is convenient, and it is also a sign of a tax consultant who helps many people with their taxes. The IRS requires any tax preparer with a PTIN who assists on returns for more than eleven clients to use the e-file system the IRS provides for taxes. If the tax consultant you are considering working with wants to paper file your taxes, that is generally a sign that they don't work on that many tax returns and may not have the experience you are looking for.
#4: Make Sure They Can Help with Other IRS Issues
Finally, you will want to make sure the tax consultant you choose to work with can help you with more than just filing your taxes. You want a consultant who can help you with any payment or collection issues you may face. You want a consultant who will assist you with audits and file appeals on your behalf. Once again, a preparer who doesn't have a PTIN can't help you with these types of issues.
When it comes to finding a quality tax consultant to assist you with your taxes, look for one with a PTIN who has financial training and credentials, as they will have the expertise to help you with your taxes and any issues that could arise with your taxes.