It’s that time of year again and many business owners are looking to their tax preparer to help them file their tax return, reduce their tax liability as much as possible, and offer advice and guidance on making more money and paying less taxes in the upcoming year. That is a lot to ask of one service provider, so you want to make sure you are working with the right one. Here are some tips on how to choose the right tax preparer for your business.
Remember, no matter who prepares your taxes, you are responsible for all information on your signed return. Working with the wrong tax preparer can cost you a lot of money in overpaid taxes or fees; and in really bad situations—large penalties and fees for under reporting or providing incorrect information on your return.
Tips on How to Choose the Right Tax Preparer for Your Business:
- Don’t wait until April to find a preparer. If you don’t have a preparer already or are unhappy with the one you’ve used in the past, you need to start looking now. Well, a few months ago would have been better, but we can’t go back.
- Check their qualifications. The IRS has a tool to help taxpayers find qualified preparers. For a searchable directory of registered preparers, visit The IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications.
- Check their history. Search the Better Business Bureau for any complaints lodged. Search your State Board of Accountancy to see the status of their license. And for Enrolled Agents, you can email the IRS for status verification.
- Ask how they charge. Make sure you choose a tax preparer whose charges are based on a fee structure, not a percentage of your refund.
- Confirm they can E-File your Return. This means they are set up with professional tax preparation software.
- Make sure they will be available after April 17. Ask if they will be around to assist you after tax day with future planning, any tax consequence questions that may arise, or helping you if the IRS has questions later.
- Get a Referral. One of the best ways to ensure you are working with a qualified tax preparer who has your best interests in mind, is to get a referral from a trusted source. Your bookkeeper should be able to refer you to a tax preparer who will be a good fit for you and your company. If you do not have a bookkeeper, then another business associate should be able to provide a referral as well.
- Provide records and receipts. Your preparer should ask to see your records and receipts. They should ask questions throughout the process.
- DO NOT Sign a Blank Return. Ever.
- Review your return before signing. Check the numbers, ask questions if something doesn’t look or feel right. It’s your money, so you need to make sure the return makes sense before signing it. Remember you are responsible for the information contained in the return.
- Watch the preparer sign and include their PTIN. All preparers are required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number. If the preparer refuses to sign and include their PTIN, don’t sign the return.
- Report Abusive Tax Preparers to IRS. The vast majority of preparers are honest and want only what is best for their clients. But as is true with every profession, there are occasionally bad apples that pop up. If you encounter an abusive preparer use form 14157 to file a complaint. If you suspect the preparer has committed fraud, use form 14157-A
Finding the right tax preparer can take some time. Remember, it’s always better to file an extension and get the right preparer than to risk using the wrong one.
Once you’ve started working with a preparer, here are some things to think about:
Bookkeeping Services in NH
Tax season is just around the corner and Fournier Accounting and Bookkeeping Services is here to help you get your financials in order. We help small business owners, including many solo law practitioners and independent contractors, get ready to file their tax returns. If you need help with your bookkeeping or payroll, or need help selecting the right tax preparer for your business, contact us today!