If you have a small business, then make no mistake about it – you need a tax professional. Besides avoiding the stress come tax time, having your business taxes professionally prepared can keep the IRS off your tail.
To find a good tax professional, you need to find one who is efficient and honest – and who knows what he or she is doing. Here are 12 points to consider to ensure that you hire the best one for your business.
- 1. Check their credentials and experience: Your CPA [Certified Public Accountant] should have the proper state or federal licenses. They should also have prior experience in filing taxes, should be comfortable communicating with the IRS, and be conversant with the updated tax laws of your particular area.
- 2. Check their office setup: Check out the size of their business. Find out whether they manage everything alone, or has an efficient staff.
- 3. Check the profile of their clients Find out whether they are handling other clients whose business profiles are similar to yours. If they are handling only very big customers or very small customers, then this could be a problem.
- 4. Make sure they offer a wide range of services: Check out the services they offer. They should not only file your taxes, but also be ready to represent you in case of any problem with the IRS (read: an audit).
- 5. Make sure they’re available when you need them: Your tax professional should be available to you for the entire year, not just during tax season. It’s important that you be able to contact them about any tax questions you may have at any time of the year.
- 6. What are they going to charge you? Check their fees for the services they will provide. If possible, get an itemized quotation – in writing.
- 7. Make sure they’ll be able to save you money: Once you have shown them your financial details, they should be able to give you some money-saving ideas. This will make the money spent on hiring them seem worthwhile.
- 8. Attitude matters: In addition to being efficient, your tax professional should also be patient and courteous. They should be able to explain tax language to you in layman’s terms. After all, you’re not the pro – they are!
- 9. Do they have an area of expertise? If they are an expert in any branch of tax law that can benefit your business, then consider that a definite advantage.
- 10. Are they a retired IRS agent? If your tax professional has worked for the IRS and has retired and started his own firm, then it is an advantage to hire them due to his knowledge and inside experience.
- 11. What is their rate of success? If possible, find out how many clients they have represented in legal cases with the IRS – and their success rate in handling those cases.
- 12. Is their office location convenient? Their office should be near your place of business and also near to the local IRS office. This will help save precious time in the exchange of documents.
Use these pointers, and you will have a much better chance of finding the right tax professional for your small business.