Who Should You Trust to Prepare Your Small Business Taxes?

Not all tax advisors are created equal. Learn about whether a CPA, tax attorney, or tax preparer is best equipped to help your business with its tax filings.

It’s time to start thinking about taxes again. Although the deadline is still months away, it will be upon you before you realize it. The stress of gathering accounting details and filing your small business taxes can be overwhelming, especially on top of all your other business duties. Thankfully, there are professionals who can help you.

Things to Consider

Before you can decide on whom to choose as your tax preparer, you need to determine what you need and are willing to pay. Here are three things to consider in a tax professional:

  • Cost:

    The cost of a tax professional can be a major deciding factor. Costs range from affordable tax preparers to highly qualified tax lawyers. The latter will obviously cost considerably more since they have advanced degrees in tax law, as well as CPA certification.

  • Expertise:

    You may have special tax considerations due to your business activities. Be sure you can depend on someone who is familiar with your small business tax filing needs and is able to provide you with qualified service.

  • Scope:

    You may not need a full range of tax preparation services. Some small business owners manage everything themselves, including the completion of tax forms, and have them looked over by a professional. Others may want a tax professional to do all the organizing, form preparation, and filing of small business taxes.

Who to Choose?

You hire a tax professional to perform a valuable service. What you pay for depends on what you need as outlined above. Here is what you can expect from the following types of tax professionals:

  • Tax Attorney:

    By far, a tax attorney has the most qualifications of any tax preparer. A tax attorney will have an advanced law degree specializing in taxation, as well as an undergraduate degree, usually in business or accounting. In addition, most tax attorneys will pursue a CPA certification as well. With this type of training, tax knowledge, and expertise, you can be assured that a tax attorney can help with even the peskiest of tax problems. However, expect to pay lawyer’s fees in accordance to the specialization and expertise of the individual.

  • CPA:

    A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is trained specifically in accounting, has a college degree in accounting, and has passed a state public accounting certification exam. With this type of specialized training, CPAs are qualified to give you financial advice, including tax advice, which can help your business save on taxes. Most CPAs also do tax preparation as part of their business offerings. You can be assured that your small business taxes will be filed accurately and with the best deductions possible. CPAs typically come with moderate expenses, but their expertise in business filings and deductions may be worth the expense.

  • Trained Tax Preparer:

    Almost anyone can become a trained tax preparer. Businesses such as H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt offer courses in tax preparation that helps a person become trained in personal, as well as small business tax preparation. This professional can certainly help you prepare taxes for less than a tax attorney or CPA, but may not have as much knowledge to help you find all the deductions for which you are eligible.

If you have complex business transactions or tax problems, a more trained professional is your best option. However, if you operate a small business with no employees, you might get the best value from a trained tax preparer.

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