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How to Find a Competent Tax Advisor

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One concern when working for yourself is managing your taxes and making sure you’re doing everything correctly. This is where many people hire a tax professional to assist them in filing their tax returns. Tax preparation is a stressful experience for anyone. With so many confusing tax forms to fill out, it can be a time-consuming task that diverts your attention away from what really matters: your business. Hiring a tax expert could be a wise decision.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the government agency in charge of your taxes; all the forms you fill out will be sent to them. This article will assist you in determining the characteristics of a good tax advisor. Let’s see how a good tax advisor can assist you with tax planning so that you are better prepared the next time you file your tax return.

qualities of a competent tax advisor

Once you’ve decided to hire a tax expert for your business, the next step is to do your homework to ensure you get someone who knows what they’re doing. When you hire a tax advisor, you entrust them with some of your most essential and personal details. They will be aware of your marital status, financial situation, and social security numbers.

Unfortunately, some con artists are out there, so choose your tax advisor carefully. The IRS has offered some tips to help you choose a reputable tax preparer.

relevant qualifications

People do not need to be qualified to work as tax advisors. Many tax professionals are not licensed. All tax advisors or preparers will have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), but this does not imply that the tax preparer is qualified. To obtain one, they only need to complete a suitability check with the IRS. Although the PTIN is federal, only seven states require additional licenses for tax preparers: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New York, and Oregon.

After getting a PTIN, a tax preparer must finish the Annual Filing Season Program, which lets the IRS find tax advisors who are not qualified. It takes about 18 hours and allows unqualified tax preparers to represent clients before the IRS in a limited capacity and be listed in the directory.

The enrolled agent has the highest level of qualification for a tax expert. You can find out if a tax return preparer has credentials or qualifications by visiting the IRS website to check. If you’re looking for an enrolled agent, you can search the National Association of Enrolled Agents directory. You will be able to ensure the tax advisor you select will have the necessary qualifications.

Choosing an enrolled agent tax advisor means getting someone who understands tax law, can handle in-depth IRS audits, files appeals on your behalf, and communicates with the IRS collections department. They will understand your specific tax situation and be able to assist you.


In the tax world, word of mouth travels quickly. You should ensure that the tax advisor you hire has a stellar reputation. If you own a business, you should have contacts in other industries. Contact your network to find out who they use to file their taxes. Companies will likely recommend them to you if they do a good job.

A good tax advisor will be happy to talk about their past successes and provide testimonials to show how good they are.


You want your tax advisor to understand all the required tax forms, be aware of all the loopholes, and thoroughly understand US tax legislation. If you entrust someone with your financial details, make sure they’re experienced in the type of tax you need. This could be a business with corporation taxes, a self-employed freelancer, or an independent contractor who needs help filling out the correct tax forms.

As a result, you should ensure that your paid preparer has relevant experience. You decide how much experience you want. However, given the importance of the position, you should hire someone who has previously dealt with the IRS.

more to read: business entities understanding the different types and their tax implications

tax advisor warning signs

We’ve looked at the positive characteristics of a tax advisor; now, let’s look at the negative characteristics of some tax professionals. So you’ll be aware of what to avoid.

  • Someone who charges a percentage of your tax refund:

This may indicate unethical behavior with the IRS.

  • Won’t sign the tax return: All tax professionals must sign a tax return if they assisted in its preparation.
  • Promises of an outstanding tax return: A tax preparer cannot make such guarantees. It’s a big red flag if people try to entice you with promises of a bigger refund.
  • Lack of a permanent business presence: Be wary of anyone who lacks a proper office space or a web presence. This could indicate a fraudster who has quickly set themselves up.

A good tax advisor will charge a flat fee for their services rather than a percentage or fee based on the amount of your tax refund. Always go with your gut instinct. Trust your intuition if you don’t have a good feeling about it.

how to find a reliable tax advisor

It takes time and effort to find the best tax preparer. Prepare to research and interview several different tax professionals. You’ll want to compare them to see the market rate for their services. You must weigh the costs and benefits. One may be more expensive because they specialize in a particular aspect of tax preparation or have more credentials.

conduct research and make contact

First, conduct research on local tax professionals, reach out to your network, and make recommendations. Look them up online once you have a list of names. Do they have their own websites? Is their social media presence active? Do they present themselves professionally?

For business owners, time is money, and they don’t want anyone wasting it. Remember, you will be entrusting this person with all of your company’s finances in order to prepare for electronic tax filing. Examine their credentials and ensure that everyone has a PTIN and the necessary licenses.

interview them and verify their credentials

Once you’ve identified a few tax advisors to meet with, you should schedule meetings and confirm their credentials. It doesn’t have to be an hour, but you can ask all of your questions that aren’t answered on their website during a short phone call. You can also ask for references, which should be people they’ve previously worked with.

Tax preparers who prepare more than ten returns must e-file (electronically file) their returns. As a result, asking if they e-file is a good indicator of how many clients they currently have. They can’t have more than ten clients if they say they don’t.

During the interview, you should inquire whether your tax advisor is available all year. When tax forms are returned, additional forms are requested. So you want to make sure you can contact your tax advisor after filing the tax return.

here are some good questions to ask:

  • Do you file paper tax returns or e-file?
  • What is your fee schedule? Is it a flat fee or an hourly rate?
  • Will there be any additional charges?
  • Do you prepare tax returns yourself or hire others?
  • How many returns do you file each year?
  • What are your qualifications?
  • How do you safeguard your data?


charges should be established upfront.

Tax advisors typically charge clients on a sliding scale based on the required work. Establishing fees ahead of time in business is always a good idea, so you know how much you’ll have to pay. It will be less expensive for someone who only needs a few tax forms filled out and their Taxes e-filed than for people with complicated tax situations.

Compare tax advisor fees to determine the going rate for your required work. Remember that no legitimate tax advisor should base their fee on your refund.

employ them

After you’ve completed all of the preceding steps, you’ll be well on your way to hiring a tax advisor. Nothing prevents you from taking the final step if you’re satisfied after speaking with them and believe they’ve answered all of your questions honestly.

You now have a qualified tax advisor! They’ll be able to answer any tax questions you have about filing fees, filing deadlines, and what information is required. They will assist you with all aspects of tax preparation.

read further: the guide to tax returns for seed stage companies how far back can you file tax returns


It’s critical to find the right person to help you with taxes, whether that’s a certified public accountant or a tax advisor. Unfortunately, there are fraudsters out there looking to take advantage. Fortunately, you can check with the IRS to see if the person you intend to hire is licensed.

Getting help with your taxes from a tax advisor can have a lot of benefits. For starters, it enables you to devote more time to running and expanding your business. Second, because tax advisors specialize in tax legislation and are aware of loopholes and tax breaks, they are likely to save you money.

When selecting a tax advisor, consider their qualifications, experience, and public reputation. Don’t forget to research and vet any potential tax advisors thoroughly. You can also conduct a brief interview before hiring.

If you are not ready to hire tax professionals, various tax software and service providers can assist you in organizing your tax preparation.

Tax season can quickly become complicated if you don’t have a solid system in place to keep your business organized. The Countick project management team can assist you and provide the scheduling, file, and storage tools you need to make this hectic time easier.


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