Choosing a Tax Preparer

Taxes are complicated. If you’re getting frustrated or confused using tax software to prepare your own return, it may be time to hire a professional – someone who can save you time and money.

You’re ultimately responsible for what is submitted on your tax return, even if someone else prepares it for you – so don’t take your choice of a tax preparer lightly. If you own a business or have a lot of business expenses, you can ask your colleagues for a referral. You can also ask family and friends who they use.

Here are some good questions to ask a prospective CPA:

  1. Do you have any other clients like me?
  2. Will you be working directly with me?
  3. What is the average response time to emails or calls?
  4. What fees will be charged, and what is the overall billing process?
  5. Will you help if I get an IRS notice?
  6. Do you provide year-round services like financial planning?

Here are some red flags to avoid:

  1. The person charges fees based on a percentage of your refund.
  2. S/he promises larger refunds than competitors.
  3. S/he doesn’t ask for a copy of last year’s return, completes your return without giving you a copy, or asks you to sign a blank return.

CPAs are licensed by the state and must comply with strict professional ethical standards, as well as meet demanding continuing education requirements.

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About cozbycpa

Heather L. Cozby is a CPA on the South Shore and Cape Cod. The managing partner of Cozby & Company, LLC, Heather has the resources and experience necessary to provide quality professional services on a timely basis and at a reasonable cost. She specializes in tax planning & preparation; audit, review & compilation services; management advisory services; bookkeeping; and accounting. Her unique niche is in working with homeowners’ associations and condominium trusts, advising with rental real estate, and providing outsourced financial consulting for mid-sized companies. She is more entrepreneurial than most accountants, and offers the best of both worlds - providing the services of a larger firm while retaining the ability to connect with her clients on a personal level.
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