Preparing your own taxes can be time-consuming, stressful, or confusing. If your situation is complex, you may need specialized advice and tips. Often, the right professional will save you time, money and minimize your risk with the IRS and state tax collectors.
Finding Tax Accountants
You should always look for an experienced tax accountant who specializes in the areas you need help with. “Word of mouth” may be a great way to find a professional, for simple returns, however, one size does not fit all needs and you need to get to the professional with the right skill set.
Here are the levels of tax professionals available to you and some background on each:
- Non credentialed tax preparer – such as those that work for H &R Block, Liberty Tax and other local “shops”. Some may possess certifications and some may have many years experience and good at what they do. However, this is more the rule than the exception. If your taxes are simple, this may be a good option. If not, we recommend a higher skill level.
- Enrolled Agents (EAs) – tax professionals who have passed a rigorous test and background check administered by the IRS. Enrolled agents often have worked for the IRS they sometimes specialize in certain areas of the law and are good for complex tax situations.
- Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) - accountants who have passed the rigorous CPA Exam and are licensed by the state they work in. CPAs will specialize in a specific area, such as audits, tax, or business consulting. CPAs are best at complex accounting work, and not all CPAs handle tax issues.
- Tax attorneys – lawyers who have chosen to specialize in tax law. Often, tax attorneys will have a master of laws degree in taxation (LL.M.) in addition to the required juris doctor (J.D.) degree. Attorneys are best at complex legal matters, such as preparing estate tax returns or taking your case before the US Tax Court.
Our resident staff accountants have worked in the industry and will get you to the right levelyou n and the appropriate specialization that you need.