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Tax Preparers, Tax Advisors - Getting Help with Business Income Taxes

Selecting and Working with Tax Preparers and Tax Advisors

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All tax preparers are not created equal. Tax preparers are set up to help individuals with personal tax returns, but not all can do complex business tax returns and understand the intricacies of depreciation, amortization, and complex shareholder and dividend tax issues. This article can help you sort out the different kinds ot tax preparers and get you help filing your business tax return.

The most important thing to remember when selecting a tax preparer or tax advisor is:  No matter who prepares your tax return, you alone are responsible for the information on that return.  So choose wisely. 

1. How to Find a Good Tax Advisor

There are a lot of disreputable tax advisers out there, ranging from the well-meaning but ignorant to the downright illegal ones. It is difficult to know whether a tax adviser is giving you the right information, or if the person will stand up with you in the case of an audit. Here are some ways to tell if you are getting bad tax advice.

2. Who Can Prepare Business Income Taxes?

You can have your business taxes prepared by an accountant or other unenrolled preparer, but you should strongly consider either an Enrolled Agent or a CPA to do your business tax return.  This article explains the difference between these types of tax preparers.  Look for a tax preparer who can also represent you before the IRS for tax matters, such as audits.

3. How to Find a CPA/Tax Preparer

A CPA/business owner gives some information on Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and how to select a CPA to do your business tax return.  In some ways it’s like choosing a doctor. Some physicians are general practitioners and some are specialists. Sometimes you’re fine with your family doc, but sometimes you prefer one who concentrates on the particular area you’re having trouble with.  More advice in this article.

4. Save Money When Working with a Tax Preparer

You can save money on your taxes by being more prepared and knowing the best way to work with tax preparer.  Here are some tips to help you save money on tax preparation.

5. Information from the IRS on Selecting and Working With Tax Preparers

The IRS has some advice about selecting and working with a tax preparer. The IRS requires that all paid tax preparers be registered. Un-registered preparers cannot legally sign returns. Read more about registered tax preparers and learn the ways to check to make sure your tax preparer has no black marks on his or her professional record.

6. Tax Avoidance vs. Tax Evasion - and Your Tax Preparer

Before you select a tax preparer, be sure you know the difference between tax avoidance (legitimate minimizing of taxes) and tax evasion (illegal misrepresentation of tax owed), and talk to your tax preparer about this distinction.  Your tax preparer should help you avoid - but NOT evade - taxes, to keep your tax bill as low as possible.

7. Who Can Represent Your Business Before the Internal Revenue Service

You have received an audit notice from the IRS and you would like to get some help when you go to the audit meeting. You need to know who can represent you and your business at that meeting and future dealings with the IRS. The IRS calls this process "practicing before the Internal Revenue Service. But not all tax preparers are allowed to practice before the Internal Revenue Service. Before you get a tax preparer, be sure this person qualifies.

Share Your Tax Preparer/Tax Advisor Horror Story

Have you had a bad experience with a tax preparer or advisor? Tell your horror story - help others avoid making the same mistake.

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