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Choosing a tax preparer

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Transcript for Choosing a Tax Preparer

This is Jean Wetzler.

I'm talking with Phyllis Grimes about choosing a tax preparer.

Phyllis, when should a business hire a tax preparer?

Because small business owners have so many responsibilities, many decide they need assistance with their taxes.

However, that is a personal decision for the business owner.

Tax law and payroll management can be fairly complex, so many small businesses use the services of a professional, which gives them more time to manage the business.

Remember: even if you hire a tax preparer, you are legally responsible for what's on your tax return.

I understand there are many different tax preparers.

What should a business owner consider when choosing a tax preparer?

Many tax professionals have expertise in preparing small business tax returns, but their credentials may differ.

Enrolled agents, tax attorneys and CPAs all have training in federal taxes and can represent taxpayers before the IRS in all matters, including audits, collection actions and appeals.

Other preparers may represent taxpayers only in audits regarding a return they signed as a preparer.

What questions should a business owner ask?

Well, the IRS cannot recommend specific tax preparers or even types of tax professionals, but we do have some suggestions.

Before selecting a person or a firm to handle your business, you might ask about experience.

Has the preparer worked with businesses similar to yours in size and type?

Is the preparer familiar with your particular line of business?

Ask about services.

Does the tax preparer offer electronic filing?

It's the safest and most efficient way to file your tax return.

Find out whether they will also electronically deposit your tax payments.

Of course, you'll be interested to know about cost, but ask what services are included in the preparer's fees.

If the IRS examines your return, what is their policy on assisting you?

You might ask for references, just as you would for any professional service.

A reputable preparer may have a list of clients you can contact.

Where can we find more information?

Look to our Web site, IRS. gov.

Just type the words "choose tax preparer" in the search box.

Consider checking with the Better Business Bureau, your state's board of accountancy for CPAs, the state bar association for attorneys, or the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility for enrolled agents.

Some states license or register tax preparers and may have an oversight agency you can contact.

Thank you, Phyllis.

I've been talking with Phyllis Grimes of the IRS.

This is Jean Wetzler.

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