As you begin your search for an accountant to help you navigate the tax filing season, here are several questions to ask when having your consultation. Regardless of whether you find your CPA through the IRS directory or the leads from the United CPA Association, you want to make sure the individual is qualified and trustworthy.
The Big Four
- Do you have an area of specialty? If you own a small business, have rental property, or you maintain foreign investments, you will want to work with a CPA that has significant experience in those tax areas.
- What is your tax experience? For simple, straightforward tax returns, this question might not be as important. However, someone with several years of experience may be more knowledgeable about complex tax filing situations.
- How will you bill your fees? Though you may not get an exact total, a CPA can give a basic estimate. Ask about their charges, whether they are a flat fee or hourly fee.
- Who is preparing the return? For accountants working with firms, there is often a handoff to an associate to prepare. The CPA may only review the work rather than do it personally.
Before you put the money in tax preparation, know what you are getting for the price. Schedule a consultation with several accountants before making your final choice.