With new tax codes, there are a lot of changes for a tax professional to understand. And if new tax codes are already a lot for experts to understand, it is fair to assume they’re even more challenging for the average person. If you or your staff aren’t tax pros, or if you’re considering finding a new tax firm to help, now is a great time to find someone who’s a good fit. Missing out on potential deductions and various tax incentives costs you money, and often, the cost of having a professional review your tax information is small compared to what you can save. Having the right guidance might actually pay for itself.
Whether you need someone to help you understand the new tax laws, or if you’re just curious to explore if there’s someone who might offer better service or advice than your current tax consultant, here are some steps to take.
Determine What Kind of Tax Service You Need
First, consider what sort of help you need. Do you need more general accounting services including management of things like payroll or are you just looking for general help with navigating new tax codes, finding deductions, and filing your documents? Maybe you’re hoping to buy audit protection, so a tax pro can support you if the IRS scrutinizes your submission? Maybe you’re hoping someone can offer help with broader financial considerations like investments and retirement funds? Think about what you need before you start your search.
Ask Your Peers
The nice thing is that because everybody pays taxes, most of your peers will likely already work with a tax professional to help them make the process easy. Once you know what type of help you need, ask your friends, family, partners, and business relations if they have someone they’d recommend and find out why they’d recommend them. Asking around is the easiest way to find someone trustworthy, plus you can benefit from the personal insights of people you already know and whose opinions you value.
Do a few online searches for words like “accountant,” “tax preparation,” “tax help” etc. to see what names pop up. Look at their websites, see what types of services they have, and write down a few that stand out. You may wish to read some of the reviews listed on Google when you search for these businesses, so you can gain some insight into their processes and what people like and dislike about working with that firm or independent tax pro.
Meet in Person
It’s not always easy to tell who is the right fit until you can meet someone in person. Qualifications are key, but you also have to trust the person you’ll be working with. Take your top list and see if you can schedule some time to discuss your tax needs and see what a few people would recommend. It’s usually easy to see who’s willing to put in the extra work for your company and who will make you feel like you’re just another client. Ask them if they have recommendations for you, explore their full range of services, and see how well they take care of you. You’ll know when you’ve found the right choice.
Tax pros get incredibly busy this time of year, and if you hope to find help and get your taxes filed by April 17, it’s wise to start your search right away. Once you find a good match, you should feel confident that at least for this year—and hopefully beyond—you have your taxes handled.