Unless your hobby is studying the tax code, it is really difficult to know if your tax pro is doing a good job. Start with these tips:
- Make sure the preparer has a CPA or EA designation. Many people tell me they are working with a CPA – until we find out they aren’t. These licenses let you know your preparer is at least minimally qualified.
- Get referrals. Your co-workers should be able to recommend CPAs who provide great service but you’re still on your own when it comes to competence.
- Interview before making your decision. Ask them about continuing education, how long they have been working with doctors, what the turnaround time is for a typical return, how they charge for their work, and whether you will be working with a different preparer. If so, what are their credentials? Who will be your contact person?
- Here’s a final question to throw in: Can you tell me why you lost your last 3 clients?
Once you’ve chosen a CPA, always be sure to review your tax return before your preparer e-files. Don’t be afraid of asking lots of questions. This is your money and your report. You not only want it to be correct, you want to make sure your CPA is making choices that will save you taxes now and later. If you are stonewalled or your CPA does not like being questioned, it might be time to start interviewing again.