Finding the Right Tax Agent for Your Tax Needs

By on | Tax & Bankruptcy Law Information.

Each year, many Americans wrestle with the issue of finding the right tax agent, one who specializes and is experienced in the tax debt areas they need help with. Before spending their hard-earned money, taxpayers should consider the following suggestions in order to consult the tax agent who best suits their situation and needs.

The title ‘tax agent’ encompasses a number of financial designations, including the following:

Certified public accountant (CPA): This tax agent specializes in the preparation of tax returns, financial statements, and business books. A CPA can represent individuals in an IRS audit. Financial planner (FP) and certified financial planner (CFP): This category of tax agent focuses on the assessment of investments, individual needs and planning to assist taxpayers in achieving their financial objectives. Enrolled agent (EA): An EA can represent taxpayers in an audit before the IRS. Tax attorney: This tax agent is an expert on legal issues and litigation. Unlicensed tax preparer: Although this kind of tax agent does not have a designation, he is still qualified to prepare tax returns.

A tax agent should possess strong organizational, time management, and analytical skills. More importantly, he should be trustworthy and maintain the confidentiality of individuals and businesses.

To find the right tax agent, taxpayers should ask family, friends, business owners, financial advisors, and attorneys for referrals. It is always helpful to ask someone with a similar tax situation. Investigating whether any complaints have been filed with the Better Business Bureau is also important.

In their search for a competent and trustworthy tax agent, taxpayers will find it useful to ask the following questions:

The tax issues that the tax agent specializes in (ex: tax debt relief) The licenses or designations held by the tax agent (ex: whether he or she is a member of a reputable industry organization such as the National Association of Tax Professionals) The length of time the tax agent has been in the tax business and his experience in handling your type of tax issues The fees charged by the tax agent The individuals who will perform the work (outsourced or prepared by the tax agent himself) The time it will take to complete the work The privacy policy that the tax agent maintains The participation by the tax agent in continuing education to stay current References

Taxpayers who value speed and convenience can find a tax agent by heading to one of the nationwide retail tax franchises, such as Liberty Tax Service, H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt, which offer reasonably-priced tax services.

On the other hand, those seeking a personalized service should consult local independent tax firms. The tax agent in this type of firm often works by appointment only.

A tax agent in a retail franchise or an independent firm usually charges about the same rate for tax debt help or any other services. The choice of which to opt for depends on the taxpayer’s priorities—convenience, location, and expertise.

Taxpayers can find a tax agent by visiting www.taxprofessionals.com. Alternatively, they can contact the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), an organization committed to excellence in the tax field. To learn more about this association, taxpayers can visit www.natptax.com.

In conclusion, taxpayers looking for the right tax agent should shop around and choose carefully. A tax agent should be knowledgeable, helpful, courteous, and dedicated to the client’s dossier. After all, the taxpayer’s money is on the line.

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