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Who Should You Look for When Hiring a Qualified Tax Preparer?

There were no overall government criteria that served as a benchmark for determining how a tax preparer should be evaluated. There are only two states left in the country that has any form of restriction or testing requirement at the state level. Due to the absence of certification and control in the industry, there was the potential for a significant quality gap to exist between different professionals, despite the fact that they might both market themselves as being on par with one another. It is essential to acquire the knowledge necessary to differentiate between a poor tax preparer and a competent one in order to maximize the accuracy of your tax returns and minimize the number of mistakes they include.

General Qualifications

The fundamental prerequisite for effectively submitting tax returns is a straightforward one: the individual must be aware of what they are doing under the applicable section of the tax code. In principle, any individual is capable of acquiring this level of knowledge. It is not overly difficult to learn, particularly when it comes to the most straightforward aspects of code, such as the most fundamental aspects of income withholding and returns. On the other hand, individuals who have only acquired the fundamentals should not be in charge of anything sophisticated.

Asking a person how long they have been managing returns and how many hours of formal training they have had is the greatest thing to do when trying to establish whether or not an individual possesses the necessary qualifications. The individual’s capacity to deal with complexity directly correlates to the amount of experience and education they possess. Take a look at some of the documents you were required to submit the previous year if you are aware that your circumstance calls for an especially high level of experience. Watch the tax preparer as he or she begins to arrange your returns if you anticipate that this year’s events will be significantly similar to those of previous years. If things seem to be different from the previous year, you should begin asking questions.

Enrolled Agents, Certified Public Accountants, and Lawyers

There is a distinct group of people who are regarded as having a higher level of education than the usual person who prepares tax returns. It is possible that these individuals do not actually prepare tax returns. CPAs, or Certified Public Accountants, are professionals that have completed the necessary coursework to manage a wide range of diverse accounting scenarios. They learn tax law in conjunction with all of these other components, which indicates that it is probably not the primary emphasis of their education. On the other hand, their knowledge is typically more varied, and they are familiar with a wider variety of coding standards than those who do not hold the CPA credential.

It is common to practice to regard as authorities attorneys who have developed a specialty in tax law. They have devoted a significant amount of time to studying the code in depth and are skilled in the subject, but they spend very little time actually drafting tax forms. Instead, they act as advocates for clients in issues brought before the IRS.

Enrolled Agents are individuals who have proven their expertise in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and as a result, they are authorized to defend taxpayers in disputes with the IRS. They are not licensed to practice law, but they are required to pass a test and keep a card with them at all times that verify their position. If you are able to locate an EA who is currently working as a tax preparer and if their certification is up to date, hiring them could be a viable choice for you.

IRS Certification Program

If an individual wishes to become a paid tax preparer following the completion of the IRS Certification Program, they will be required to pass a fundamental competency test and become registered with the IRS. Since this legislation has not been put into effect just yet, there is no condition that must be met right now. If you are looking for a tax preparer after it goes into force, a smart first step toward establishing whether or not they are competent would be to inquire about seeing confirmation that they are certified.

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