Important Questions to Ask When Choosing a Tax Preparer

October 11, 2018 1:45 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Want to know the best way to find a tax preparer that is right for you or your business? The secret is in knowing which questions to ask when you have a chance to talk to your potential accountant. Whether it’s in the form of a sit down meeting or a phone call, asking the right questions will give you an opportunity to learn more about the accountant and whether or not they’d be a good fit for you.

Here are a few examples of some of those questions you should consider asking someone who will handle your tax returns in Oklahoma City, OK.

Q: Do you have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)?

If the answer to this question is “no,” then they should be immediately disqualified from your search. Anyone who charges money to prepare federal tax returns is required by law to have a PTIN. Make this your first question so you know whether or not it’s worth proceeding with any additional questions.

Q: What kind of background do you have in tax preparation?

You might be aware of some of the certifications the preparer has, but this gives them a chance to expand on their history and experience and talk more about the value they can give to you or your business. Ask follow-up questions about their certifications and if they have any specialties in their services.

Q: Have you ever worked on my type of tax return before?

There are many different types of tax returns, not all of which are common. Some tax preparers are capable of handling just about anything, whereas others might focus on nonprofit organizations, fiduciary returns or pass-through entities. Some tax preparers even focus primarily on international taxpayers and expats. There are many variations of taxpayers, just as there are many different types of tax returns, so it’s important to know that your potential accountant will be able to handle whatever work you have, especially if you have a more unusual type of return.

Q: How do you set your fees?

You shouldn’t ask how much the fees will be, but rather how they are determined. Prices can vary based on the complexity of your tax return and the number of forms you have to fill out and file. It’s a red flag if a preparer tells you they base their fees on a percentage of the refund you’re expected to get—this means they’re financially incentivized to use inappropriate deductions, which could land you in legal trouble if you’re ever put through an IRS audit.

Q: Can I come to you throughout the year with tax questions?

Avoid working with tax preparers who only take questions seasonally. Make sure you’re able to contact your tax person at any time throughout the year if you have questions. If they’re not going to be there to assist you, there are plenty of other options.

For more information about choosing someone to take on your tax returns in Oklahoma City, OK, contact Chrisman & Chrisman Financial Services today.

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