If You Think You Get Returns, Then This Might Change Your Mind

Different Types of Tax Return Professionals

Tax return preparation may be time-intensive, challenging, and downright maddening. When there is other work to do, taxes seem to never get stricken off of the to-do list. Nevertheless, getting such taxes filed is a need, and the safest way around it is to hire a tax professional. Take note, even minor mistakes can be expensive and troublesome, but working with an expert helps you avoid them.

The question is, which expert will it be? There are many types of professionals out there who are more than glad to help people with their taxes. Below is a quick rundown of the most popular designations you will see:

Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

A CFP should pass an exam, fulfill certain educational requirements, obtain experience in finance, and meet other specific qualifications. Some CFPs know much about filing taxes, but others don’t. If you are looking at someone who has this designation, find out more about their tax filing experience before you hire them.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

As indicated by the designation itself, a certified public accountant is a person who has state certification to act as a public accountant In the field of accounting, it is the one and only licensed qualification. Most individuals need to meet certain educational requirements on top of passing a series of exams, depending on the specific requirements of the state. CPA services include accounting, financial planning, business evaluation and auditing. There are some CPAs who specialize exclusively in taxes.

Enrolled Agents (EA)

An enrolled agent is a person who has passed an IRS exam or was employed by the IRS employee in the past. EAs must complete long-term education courses to remain up-to-date on tax law changes, and are required to follow certain ethical standards. This is the highest credential the IRS can award a tax preparation professional.

JD (Law Degree) and LLM (Master of Law)

Anybody with these degrees can have a taxation specialty, but not in all cases. If you are planning to work with a lawyer or any other legal expert, ensure that the focus of their practice is taxes, rather than a whole variety of areas. The attorney who helped you with your divorce or personal injury case is most likely not the best choice for your taxes!

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Volunteer

VITA volunteers are tax preparers IRS-trained in tackling basic returns. If you are a business owner, however, this individual may not the best person for you to approach.

Lastly, if you check further, that there are bookkeepers, accountants and unlicensed tax preparers who have no formal credentials, yet are completely reliable. This does not mean you have to rule them out. You probably just have to dig more into their tax experience and education.

Source: Online Tax