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How To Find an Accountant

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Finding an accountant to prepare your taxes is a relatively straightforward process.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 1-2 hours

Here's How:

  1. Ask yourself why you need an accountant.
  2. If having your taxes done quickly is most important, you should go to H&R Block or another retail tax company. They are specially trained to get your taxes done quickly.
  3. If creating a tax plan for your future is most important, you should seek out the advice of a licensed tax professional, such as a Certified Public Accountant or an Enrolled Agent.
  4. If handling a complex tax situation is most important, you should find an accountant who specializes in your problem. Special circumstances include living outside the United States, day trading in the stock market, or owning a small business.
  5. Call around to a couple of tax offices to ask about their prices and how quickly they can schedule an appointment.
  6. Ask what their price range is.
  7. Ask about any guarantees the accountant offers.

Tips:

  1. A CPA is a professional accountant licensed by the state. Best for corporate accounting, tax audits, and business consulting.
  2. An Enrolled Agent is a tax professional licensed by the IRS. Best for complex tax issues, tax audits, and responding to tax collectors.
  3. A Tax Preparer may be registered by the state. Best for straightforward tax returns.
  4. The national Tax Franchises are H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, and Liberty Tax. Offices nationwide. Often fast, courteous, and convenient.
  5. Expect to pay from $150 to $450, depending on how complicated your tax return is.

What You Need

  • All your tax documents
  • Photo identification
  • Social Security Cards for yourself and your dependents
  • Checkbook for direct deposit of your refund
  • Copy of last year's tax return
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