Where to Look for an Accountant Who Will Prepare Your Tax Return

Where to Look for an Accountant Who Will Prepare Your Tax Return

You actually have more choices available to you than you realize

Your taxes can be prepared efficiently, expertly, and safely by a certified public accountant, and they can also ensure that you get all of the tax breaks and deductions for which you are eligible. They are able to handle any odd or complicated tax position that you might be in, which is perhaps the most crucial benefit.

It shouldn’t be too difficult to locate an accountant who can handle the preparation of your tax return; nonetheless, you should question why you believe you require the assistance of a trained professional. Here are three main reasons why you might want to use one and some tips on how to find the one that fits your needs the best.

You’re Handling a Complicated Tax Predicament Right Now

Because life does not remain unchanged, it is surprisingly common for taxpayers to encounter a wrinkle, crisis, or big change during the tax year that has a significant impact on their own tax situations. It is time to get assistance from a specialist.

Even if you don’t end up asking the professional to prepare your return, you should at least talk things over with them so that you have a better understanding of what you’re up against in the event that your circumstances have dramatically shifted.

Various aspects of tax law are frequently areas of concentration for accountants. If you have a unique situation, you should look for an accountant who specializes in that particular field. You might have moved out of the United States, started a small business, or started day trading on the stock market, for example.

If you have a complicated financial position with taxes, you should make a number of phone calls to different tax offices in order to identify an accountant who specializes in your particular area of concern. Inquire about the costs involved, and see how quickly you can set up an appointment with them.

Do you want to save time?

If getting your taxes done fast and easily is your top priority, you should seriously consider turning to a retail tax company such as H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, Liberty Tax, or any other company of its like. 

These companies have locations all over the country and hire tax preparers who have had special training. They will finish your return as quickly as possible while causing you as little trouble as possible.

Keep in mind that if the expert is going to prepare your return fast, they are probably not going to spend a lot of time meeting with you to discover what tax credits and deductions you might be eligible for that you are not already aware of. This is something you should keep in mind.

The majority of independent accountants will want to do at least a brief interview with you before beginning to prepare your taxes for you while you wait, although there are some accountants that will prepare your taxes while you wait. 

After that, your tax return will normally be completed within a few days at the most. If time is of the essence and you do not plan to employ a retail tax company, it is imperative that you inquire about the amount of time the accountant will need to finish preparing your tax return.

In the event that you don’t mind spending some time in front of your computer, a lot of retail tax companies also sell software at 50 percent off the original price.

If You Would Like to Reduce Your Current Tax Bill

If reducing your tax burden is one of your primary concerns, it is highly recommended that you consult the services of a qualified tax expert, such as a certified public accountant (CPA), for assistance in this endeavor. However, this will most likely cost you more than what a retail tax firm would charge, and as a result, it may end up being a wash financially unless you plan to save a significant amount with the assistance of a professional.

Verify that the necessary licenses are in place.

There are certain accountants who hold licenses or certificates that are specific to their field. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are probably the most well-known type of certified accountants. 

When an accountant has fulfilled all of the necessary school requirements and passed the Uniform CPA Examination, they are eligible to apply for a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. This exam is a comprehensive examination of the accountant’s tax and accounting skills. 

The amount of experience and level of education that are required to become a CPA can vary somewhat from state to state.

An accountant is considered to be an enrolled agent (EA) if they have either obtained a passing score on a comprehensive examination covering tax law that was administered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or has actually worked for the IRS in a position that is deemed to be qualifying. 

These individuals are permitted to practice before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), along with CPAs and tax attorneys. They are able to represent you in audits or conversations with tax collectors, even if you are unable to be present in those situations. 

Even though not all taxpayers need the specific skills and knowledge that these experts have, it is still good to know that they are available if you need their help.

When it comes to the production of straightforward tax returns, the accountants working at the local tax firms are typically more helpful and informed.

Try Your Hand at Some Window Shopping

It’s important that you don’t forget to ask potential accountants about their price ranges. However, keep in mind that it’s hard to give an accurate estimate just by talking on the phone.

The majority of accountants will charge you a fee for each form that they must fill out on your behalf; thus, filing a more complicated tax return will cost you more money. However, some accountants are transitioning to a flat rate or an hourly rate, so it is important to inquire about their fees.

Ask an accountant about any assurances they might provide, too, if you can. Many will provide a personal assurance that your tax return will not contain any mathematical or data entry errors. If your tax return has mistakes, the accountant should offer to fix them for free.

In the end, it is up to you to ensure that the information on your tax return is accurate. You’ll need to include your own signature on the tax return.

How much will it cost to enable this facility?

The short answer is that it varies tremendously depending on your particular tax circumstances as well as the accountant that you work with. According to a survey from the National Society of Accountants, the average price that tax professionals charge for preparing a Form 1040 that includes a state return but does not include itemized deductions is $220. 

Those that itemize saw an increase in that number, which now stands at $323.3 When it comes to preparing taxes, some tax specialists charge by the hour, while others charge by the filing. Your location, as well as the amount of time you have to complete the process, can also play a role in the total price.

If you wish to itemize your deductions, you should budget more money because doing so entails a significant amount of additional labor. If you work for yourself and have to fill out a Schedule C, your overall tax bill will go up even more.

Don’t Ignore Software as an Alternative

This brings us back to the original question: do you really need a professional to help you fill out your tax return?

We have long since moved on from the days when we needed to sharpen many pencils and pull out a calculator. You should think about purchasing tax preparation software if you don’t mind investing a little bit of time, if your tax situation isn’t overly complicated, and if you’re able to navigate a website or software program with a reasonable amount of ease. If you meet all of these criteria, tax preparation software might be a good option for you.

The majority of these apps, such as H&R Block and TurboTax, will guide you through a series of questions to fill out your tax return. Depending on the information you provide, the program may wait for you to respond to these questions before completing your tax return. 

Have you received your W-2 form yet? If this is the case, simply provide the information requested when prompted using the form. The same is true for any Forms 1099 that you have received.

Do you have any dependents that could potentially qualify you for specific tax credits? Please respond to the following questions: The answer will be provided by the program that you use to prepare your taxes.

These programs typically cost a far smaller amount than what an accountant would charge for their services. The filing of state taxes is often an additional cost, but hiring an accountant who specializes in state taxes will typically result in a higher fee. It is important to keep in mind that fees may go up across the board during the busiest time of year for filing taxes.

The Free File Alliance is offered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to people who have simple finances and made $73,000 or less during the tax year 2021.

This choice won’t cost you a thing, but there are some other requirements you must meet to qualify for it.

Questions That Are Typically Asked (FAQs)

In order to prepare my tax return, what kinds of documentation would my accountant need?

You are going to be required to hand over any and all W-2 forms as well as details regarding your income from any and all sources, including interest from investments. You should supply receipts or other documentation of significant expenses, such as those incurred for your schooling, medical treatment, or your business or home office if you want to itemize your deductions (or if you are unsure whether you will). 

Bring any receipts you may need to support a charitable deduction as well. These are the fundamentals, and they should be sufficient to give your tax preparer a head start, but keep in mind that your circumstances may be entirely unique.

What are some ways that I might cut costs while hiring an accountant?

When looking for an accountant, it is important to pay attention to whether they charge an hourly or a flat rate and to inquire about an estimate right away. You might be able to find more reasonable charges with smaller practitioners or through businesses that offer tiered pricing according to the level of difficulty of your tax return. 

If you would rather forego the services of an accountant and try your hand at filing your taxes on your own, the Internal Revenue Service has a number of internet sources where you can do so for free.

Is using tax preparation software online risky?

When it comes to doing taxes online, you should be aware of various frauds and scams; hence, in order to be safe, you should select a reliable provider and use a private internet connection.

 The major firms, such as TurboTax and H&R Block, have put in place security safeguards and enjoy a high level of public trust. There are also resources like the Free File Alliance that are directly supported by the Internal Revenue Service.

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