Choosing Your Income Tax Consultant

Choosing an income tax consultant can be an overwhelming task for many. Several things need to be taken into consideration, including what makes a good consultant as well as which factors should help to determine the best consultant for you. When selecting an income tax consultant, it is important to give yourself time to make an educated decision, rather than waiting until tax filing season is in full swing. Below are some considerations to help you through the process.

Evaluate Your Situation

Before you meet with or look into any consultants, it is important to determine what type of situation you are in. This can give you an idea of what consultant best fits your needs when you meet. If you are looking for general guidance with tax preparation, it is safe to go with a regular tax consultant. If your situation is more complex, you may want to consider looking into a certified public accountant (CPA).

Interview Consultants

Whether you find consultants online or through recommendations, it is important to interview several before selecting one. A few key qualities you should discuss during an interview are availability, qualifications and experience, client longevity and price. Discussing availability will help you determine whether you will be working hands-on with the consultant and can easily keep in contact. Client longevity helps to determine whether consumers were pleased with the services and continue to seek consultation year after year. When you get a recommendation from someone who has used the same tax consultant for many years, it is a good indication that he has seen positive results. Price should also be discussed in the initial meeting. While it isn't the only factor to consider, it can be a determining one.

Compare Your Situation with Consultant Qualities

Your personal situation will determine which income tax consultants are best for you and which ones do not fit the bill. If you are looking for a consultant that you can stay with over the years, client longevity should be weighted strongly. Building a relationship with your tax consultant can be beneficial to you. Knowing you have used a consultant in the past and had positive results can help to lessen the stress and allow you to feel comfortable asking questions, which can lead to a maximized tax return. Availability is a factor that will vary depending on your situation. If you are looking for a one-time, quick preparation, availability will not play a key role. However if you are new to the process, have a complex situation or are looking to establish an on-going professional relationship, you will want to strongly consider the availability of the consultants you interviewed. Finally, weigh the price of each consultant against the service she is providing. It is important to find a consultant who is educated and helpful, which will cost you. Spending more than you are comfortable with or can afford, however, is not worth the service and can actually defeat the purpose if you aren't getting much back.

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