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How to Pick a Quality Tax Advisor

Tax advisor, enrolled tax agent, certified public accountant – all these terms refer to an accounting professional specializing in the arduous U.S. tax code and using their knowledge to help you decrease your taxes. Not all tax advisors are the same – some are enrolled agents, others are Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and so on. No matter the type of tax advisor you need, it’s crucial to choose well.

Defining Your Needs

Before anything, be clear about your needs and your goals. For instance, if your tax situation is simple, any qualified tax advisor may suffice. Otherwise, go for a seasoned professional who knows just what to do.

Screening Prospects

The last few years has seen a wave of shady, fly-by-night tax preparers, it’s a must that you thoroughly research a prospect’s background before moving forward. Look into their credentials and references, and if they don’t satisfy you with either, strike them off your list. As well, take time to find out whether the advisor has any customer complaints filed against them with your local Better Business Bureau.

The Importance of Experience

There are many new and promising tax advisors in the U.S. these days, but hiring someone with experience still offers unparalleled advantage. Find someone who has gone toe-to-toe with the IRS or gained expertise in your specific tax needs. There are no actual figures required in terms of years of experience a tax advisor should have, but you should be able to tell if your prospect is experienced enough for your needs by the end of your vetting process.

Combining Tax Advice and Financial Planning Services

Again, when you talk about tax help, it’s all about finding the right tax specialist. But having a tax adviser and financial planner in one expert can give you a more balanced approach to syncing your tax situation and the rest of your personal finances: investments, home mortgage costs, retirement savings, and so on.

Fee Structure

Most probably, a tax advisor will charge you on a sliding scale: the more you use their services, the bigger your bill will be. Tax advisers generally charge a lump sum, but there are those who are paid hourly, by completed tax returns, or by a percentage of your assets. In any case, always tax the tax advisor you’re consider before moving forward.

To be successful in this modern and complicated life, you need experts who will be there when you need them for advice. Definitely, this include a tax advisor, but remember that not all of these experts are created equal. This is why you need to spend time choosing the right one for you.

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