Tips To Choose The Best Tax Preparation Company

6 minutes, 15 seconds Read

Paying your taxes may be a time-consuming and unpleasant task. It might be difficult to choose the best tax preparation service provider for your requirements when there are so many alternatives available. Selecting an incorrect tax preparer may ultimately cost you money, time, and peace of mind. Here are ten suggestions in this blog to choose one of the finest tax preparation companies for your particular circumstances. When investigating tax preparation businesses, there are a number of important elements to take into account. These include comparing services, reviewing reviews, and verifying qualifications and pricing. You may be sure you’re making the right decision to file your taxes on time and properly with the help of these recommendations.  

Research Credentials and Licensing

Any tax preparer you consider should have the proper credentials and licensing. This is important for protecting your personal information and ensuring accurate tax preparation. Licensed tax preparers have met certain education requirements and have passed an IRS exam. There are a few types of credentials to look for:

  • Enrolled Agent (EA): An EA is licensed by the IRS and specializes in taxes. They can represent clients for audits and collections.
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA): A CPA is licensed by the state and has passed rigorous exams. They are permitted to complete all tax forms.
  • Attorney: An attorney who specializes in taxes has passed the bar exam. They can provide legal counsel for tax issues.
  • Annual Filing Season Program: Preparers who pass this IRS exam can file individual tax returns without supervision.

Check the company website or ask representatives directly about licensing to be sure you choose legitimate tax experts.

Compare Prices and Fees

Tax preparation fees can really vary, so it pays to compare your options. Some companies charge per form, some charge hourly rates, and some charge flat fees. Make sure to get quotes from a few companies before deciding.

Also ask about any additional fees that may be charged. Some companies tack on fees for e-filing, setting up accounts, or added state returns. Be clear on the total costs before agreeing to services.

Ideally, look for simple and transparent pricing with no hidden fees. Going with a company that charges reasonable prices for the services you need can equal big savings.

Understand the Audit Support Policy

Nobody wants to deal with a tax audit, but it does happen. Before selecting a tax preparer, understand their policy for supporting clients who are audited.

You want to work with a company that will stand by their work and provide assistance if the IRS flags your return. Some preparers offer audit representation or assistance as part of their upfront fees, while others charge additional hourly fees for this service.

Knowing the policy ahead of time provides peace of mind that you’ll have help resolving any audit issues. Make sure the preparer is willing to assist and advocate for you in an audit.

Consider Convenience and Support

Filing your taxes shouldn’t be more stressful than it has to be. Look for a tax preparer that offers convenience and excellent customer support.

Many tax companies allow you to upload documents securely online to minimize office visits. Opting for e-filing also speeds up processing and refunds.

Make sure the company has a support team you can contact with any questions before, during, and after tax season. Responsive customer service makes a huge difference for a smooth tax prep experience.

Check Reviews and Complaint Records

One of the best ways to evaluate any service provider is to read through customer reviews and check for complaints. Take some time to research reviews of the tax preparers you’re considering on sites, and the Better Business Bureau.

Look for patterns in what past clients say. A lot of positive reviews likely indicate customers have been satisfied. Pay attention to any recurring complaints as red flags to watch out for. Avoid companies with many negative reviews or complaints related to accuracy or poor service.

Ask for Recommendations

Speaking of reviews – don’t forget to ask people you know for tax preparer recommendations! Co-workers, friends, and relatives may have insights to share from firsthand experience.

Recommendations from trusted sources can give you added assurance about a provider’s qualifications and service. You may even get referred to local tax pros that you wouldn’t find through your own searching.

If a certain company gets multiple recommendations as the best tax preparer in town, they’re likely a solid choice to handle your taxes too.

Research Tax Expertise

Make sure any tax preparation company you choose has experience filing the specific forms and handling the tax situations relevant to you. Not all tax pros are experts on every topic.

If you have investments, own a business, have foreign income, or need other specialized help, look for a company with proven expertise in your area of need. For small businesses, you may want to find specialists in filing business taxes.

Doing some research on a company’s tax expertise and specialties ahead of time prevents surprises or issues down the road.

Compare Security Protections

Protecting your personal information should be a top priority. Tax preparers have access to sensitive identification, financial, and employment data. Be sure to ask about security protocols before choosing a company.

At a minimum, the tax preparer should use encryption software to protect your data. Make sure they have robust malware protection and backup systems in place too. Avoid companies that can’t provide specifics about their cybersecurity measures.

It’s also reasonable to ask how long they retain your personal information and records on file after your taxes are filed. Responsible tax pros will have secure data retention policies.

Read the Service Agreement

Before officially signing up for services, carefully read the tax preparation company’s service agreement and terms. This outlines important details like pricing, process, timeline, responsibilities, guarantees, and other policies.

Double check that everything aligns with the quotes, recommendations, and assurances you previously received. Make sure you understand and are comfortable with all the terms and conditions.

If you notice discrepancies or have questions about certain provisions, get clarification before proceeding. Clear communication upfront prevents misunderstandings down the road.

Ask About Tax Reform Changes

The tax code sees frequent updates and changes. Make sure any tax preparer you select stays up-to-date on the latest reforms, laws, and IRS rules. Choosing a company familiar with the newest changes prevents errors that could cause you problems.

You can directly ask during consultations how knowledgeable the preparer is on the most recent tax reforms and guidance. Most tax pros make it a priority to take continuing education courses and stay informed. An expert tax preparer should be able to explain how new tax laws affect your specific situation.

Staying on top of the evolving tax environment takes diligence and expertise. Prioritize professionals who demonstrate a strong command of the current tax code.

Conclusion

It requires thought and investigation to select the best tax preparation firm. Using the advice in this article will lead you in the right direction to locate a reliable and competent tax professional. Examine credentials, costs, evaluations, security measures, experience, and other important aspects in detail over your time. You can rest easy knowing that your taxes will be completed on time and properly when you work with the right tax preparer on your return. Additionally, you will have audit help available for you in the future. Finding the top tax preparation business is worth the effort since it will provide you a great deal of peace of mind.  

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