About 53% of taxpayers use tax preparers for their taxes. This is an excellent idea, given how complex and dense taxes and tax laws always are. Most people have no idea what goes into filing taxes, and if you’re one of them, hiring the best tax preparation service is in your best interest.
Now, in an industry worth over $10 billion in the US alone, picking tax preparation services is not an easy feat. There are many businesses with numerous professional tax preparers, so you must conduct thorough research to locate the best one.
To make it easier for you, this comprehensive guide lists all the factors you need to consider in order to choose the best tax preparation firm. Keep reading to find the top factors to consider when choosing tax preparation services.
Top Reasons to Hire a Tax Preparation Service
If you are like most people, you might wait until the very last minute to prepare your taxes. The chances are that this will result in errors and anxiety as you scramble to complete your taxes on time. Hiring tax preparation services is a much better alternative than preparing your own taxes with all of these potential pitfalls.
Here are five top reasons why you need a professional tax preparation firm.
Accuracy and Ease
According to the IRS, less than 3% of all tax returns are audited. However, when people prepare their own taxes, there is a much higher statistical chance that they’ll make mistakes that could result in an audit.
Hiring tax preparation services can reduce your chances of error and save you the stress and worry associated with filing your own taxes. If you often find yourself missing deductions or making errors when preparing your own taxes, it might be time to hire professionals.
They’ll Save You Time
Preparing your own taxes can become a daunting task because it requires so much research and record-keeping. According to the IRS, it can take anywhere from 20-100 hours to prepare your own taxes. Hiring tax preparation services is much faster and easier.
Professionals know which forms you need and which deductions you qualify for. They have the knowledge and expertise that can save you a lot of time during the busy tax season. That’ll leave you with time to concentrate on your business and other essential matters.
Peace of Mind
Last-minute tax preparation often leads to self-doubt and anxiety because people are not confident when they file their taxes on their own. When you choose to hire tax preparation services, they’ll handle all your taxes, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Moreover, they’ll answer any questions or concerns that you might have throughout the tax preparation process. If you hire a professional tax firm, they’ll also offer security and confidentiality. This means that you never have to worry about any sensitive tax information being leaked or shared with anyone.
Avoid IRS Penalties
The IRS penalizes businesses for late payments, tax frauds, failure to file, underpayment, and much more. The thing is, according to recent data, more than 1/3 of small businesses make mistakes on their taxes every year.
This results in late fees and interest that can result in hefty payments. Hiring professional tax preparers means you’ll be protected from penalties and fines. Professionals understand how the IRS operates and can keep track of all deadlines for you throughout the year.
Maximum Refund and Faster Returns
One of the main reasons people choose to prepare their own taxes is to save money on fees. However, this often backfires because they often miss deductions and credits that lead to smaller refunds or even, worse, larger tax bills.
When you use professional tax preparation services, you can be confident that you’re getting the most out of your refund. In addition, they’ll work quickly to get your returns filed as soon as possible so that you can receive your refund in a timely manner.
How to Find the Best Tax Preparation Service
Now that you know why you need tax preparation services, let’s discuss how you can find the most reputable one. There are many factors to consider, none of which should be overlooked. This means you should go over them carefully and ensure you tick all the boxes when picking tax preparation services.
- Excellent Past Tax Preparation Experience
One of the best indicators of how good a tax preparer will be is by looking at their past experience. In other words, picking someone who has been in business for many years is usually a good idea because they have encountered most tax situations. They should be able to help you with any questions or concerns you may have.
In addition, if friends or family members have recommended them, this is also a good sign because it means they were happy with the service they received. A higher tax preparation experience level means they may be worth every dime you spend on their services.
Hiring someone who does not have enough experience might result in errors that may require corrections, thus adding to your cost. Look for a tax preparation firm with at least three years of experience and who has completed hundreds of tax returns so you can be sure about their skills and abilities.
- Valid Licenses, Certification, and Insurance
Picking tax preparation services with a high reputation is one way to ensure success. Reputable and licensed tax preparers are those that have undergone intense scrutiny from state boards or other governing bodies.
Additionally, picking a tax preparer with specific licenses and certifications will give you some peace of mind. For instance, picking a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) guarantees that the person is competent in accounting as well as taxes. Moreover, a professional tax preparation firm ought to have appropriate insurance policies.
At the very least, they must have professional liability insurance as well as errors and omissions insurance. If they have cyber liability insurance, even better because then you’ll be assured of the safety of your sensitive information.
- Availability and Flexibility
One of the key considerations you need to make when picking a tax preparation service is availability. You don’t want to work with someone who is always unavailable when you have questions or require assistance. In addition, pick a provider who can guarantee they’ll be available tax season when it’s time to file your taxes.
Another factor you need to consider when picking a tax preparation service is flexibility. They should be flexible with everything, from their pricing policy, because prices are usually based on the services offered. They should be flexible with their services and be willing to customize them to your specific needs.
- Service Fees
Tax preparation fees are usually charged as a percentage of the refund you receive. It’s important that you know exactly what you’re going to pay prior to picking anyone. Ask whether they’ll charge you a flat rate or per hour.
In addition, always check if they charge extra preparation costs. Things such as picking up forms from your home and other charges related to picking up mail from post offices.
Always ask what the final cost entails, so you know exactly what to expect when picking someone. Now, the cost of services offered by tax preparers varies greatly, so it’s important that you compare rates before settling on one.
Don’t make the mistake of picking the cheapest service provider because the last thing you need is mistakes in your taxes. It’s always better to get quality services that you know you can rely on. Still, don’t hesitate to ask for discounts whenever you can as top companies may offer one or two.
- Customer Recommendations, References, and Reviews
Customer referrals from colleagues and other business associates are a great way to find trustworthy tax preparation services. You should never hire a business that has no positive references and reviews.
Picking an inexperienced tax firm will likely leave you with poor results at a high cost. To ensure that the information is genuine and accurate, talk with previous clients. Ask them questions regarding the tax firm and how professional and accurate they were.
- Services Offered
Before picking tax preparation services, make sure they offer the kind of services you need. Not all tax preparers offer all tax preparation services, and some specialize in areas others don’t. You may want things like estate planning, in which case you should check out this guide.
This means you need to look for an expert who specializes in exactly what you need. Even better, if they can tailor their services to your needs, they would be in a better position to serve you.
The accuracy of returns filed by tax preparers is one factor you should never ignore when picking one. To ensure you don’t get in trouble with the IRS, pick someone who is known for their accuracy when it comes to preparing tax returns. Check the Better Business Bureau to find out if any complaints have been made.
Another key factor to consider when picking tax preparation services is accurate refunds. This means they have proof of knowledge and experience in dealing with federal agencies.
In addition, if your tax preparer makes an accounting error, you’re going to get penalized by the IRS. Case in point, picking a business that has knowledge in resolving issues with the IRS may save you a headache later on down the line.
- Security of Information and Confidentiality
When picking tax preparation services, always make sure they have the latest security software. It’ll protect you in case of hacking attacks and other forms of cybercrime. This means picking someone who uses firewalls and virus-detection software on their computer systems.
This helps safeguard personal information against potential hackers looking for ways into their systems. If you’re not sure if they have this kind of security feature, ask them if they protect their computers with up-to-date antivirus programs.
Beyond that, when comparing picking tax preparation services, always choose one who guarantees the confidentiality of your information. This means they’ll not share your information with any other third party without your consent.
- Ease of Communication
Picking a tax preparer who is easy to communicate with is another important factor to consider. It’ll make the entire process run more smoothly, and you know you can always reach them when you need help or have questions. In other words, pick someone who returns your calls and emails in a timely manner.
If they’re available during business hours, it’ll save you a lot of headaches down the line. You can consult them on their preferred mode of communication and ask who you’ll be talking to. This means getting acquainted with the person handling your account if you hire a large firm.
- Professional Credentials
When picking tax preparation services, always make sure they have the appropriate professional credentials. Credentials mean they have met the necessary requirements in order to offer tax services. It means they have the education, appropriate training, skillset, and knowledge to handle both business and personal taxes.
Additionally, pick someone affiliated with a reputable organization such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants or the National Association of Tax Professionals. It’ll assure you they’re competent and knowledgeable enough to handle taxes.
When picking a tax preparer, always choose one who offers fixed pricing for their services because it gives you an indication of what to expect. You won’t have to worry about hidden charges or additional fees down the line. Picking someone who takes into account any deductions or credits you might qualify for will save you time and money.
Moreover, picking someone who guarantees a maximum fee for their services is ideal. It gives you peace of mind knowing they’ll not charge a ridiculous amount to amend a return that was done incorrectly.
Picking Tax Preparation Services: The Only Guide You Need
Picking tax preparation services can be a daunting task, but if you keep the above factors in mind, you should be able to find one who is right for you. Remember, the most important thing is to find someone you can trust and who will take care of your taxes in a professional and confidential manner.
We hope you loved this post. Please head over to our blog for more informative posts.