When you’re looking for tax preparation services, you want to hire a firm with tax consultants you can trust. With so many consultants out there, though, choosing one that’s experienced and trustworthy can be tough.
Before you commit, watch out for these common mistakes that people make when choosing a tax consultant.
Not Checking Out Credentials
When you have tax issues, you need to hire someone who’s qualified to help with your case. Look for a consultant who holds a degree in finance, tax, or accounting. Many tax consultants are also certified public accountants (CPAs) or accredited tax advisors (ATAs).
Not Asking Good Questions
Before you hire a tax professional, make sure they can give clear, no-nonsense answers to all of your questions. If tax preparers can’t or won’t answer questions, choose someone else.
Some questions to ask when vetting tax consultants include:
- Will you, personally, work on my tax returns? Or do you outsource that work to someone else?
- Do you offer tax planning?
- What kind of clients have you served before?
- Are you aggressive or conservative when it comes to write-offs?
- What’s your fee structure?
Waiting To Hire Someone Until It’s Too Late
Many people don’t hire a tax consultant until they’ve built up a huge unpaid tax bill, which can come back to bite them with costly penalties and interest rates. If you’re behind on your taxes, don’t ignore the problem and bury your head in the sand. It’s better to hire a tax consultant as soon as you can before you rack up thousands in fines.
Choosing a Tax Consultant That Plays Fast and Loose with Deductions
When you hire a tax consultant to save you money on your taxes, they may try some creative accounting methods, such as taking deductions you’re not exactly qualified for. For instance, they might fudge the square footage of your home office or try to deduct personal expenses as business expenses.
Taking deductions you don’t qualify for can land you in hot water with the IRS. Choose a consultant who avoids shady strategies like these.
Choosing an Attorney Who Hides Income
Underreporting income is one of the leading causes of an IRS audit. You may never dream of underreporting what you earned, but your tax consultant might have different ideas. An unscrupulous one may shave a few dollars off here and there to make it look like you earned less than you really did.
If you spot missing income on your tax return, it may be time to ditch your consultant and hire a new, more trustworthy one.
Hiring an Attorney Who Has a Conflict of Interest
Good tax consultants know that it’s unethical to engage in conflicts of interest. That means they won’t encourage you to invest in a way that benefits them. Bad consultants, on the other hand, may tell you all about some “amazing new investment opportunity” to convince you to stake your hard-earned money on it. If a consultant talks like this, proceed cautiously.
Contact Our Firm for Help with Your Taxes
If you’re looking for honest tax professionals that only have your interests at heart, reach out to Levy & Associates Tax Consultants today. Our staff of attorneys, accountants, CPAs, former IRS revenue officers, and tax consultants has served dozens of happy clients, so you can rest assured that we’ll never pull any tricks that could lead to trouble with the IRS. We think you’ll find the peace of mind to be well worth it.
To schedule a consultation with our tax consultants, call our Lathrup Village, MI, location at (313) 367-0985 or our Delray Beach, FL, office at (561) 933-6705.