Choosing a Tax Preparer? Keep These Tips in Mind

Choosing a Tax Preparer? Keep These Tips in Mind

Money | Posted by - October 16, 2013 at 6:15 am

You’re not alone if you’re feeling anxious about doing your taxes: it’s a common sentiment among millions of Canadians sitting down to sort through their receipts, invoices and pay slips on a quest to figure out if they’ll owe money or enjoy a refund.

If you’re experiencing tax-related stress, hiring a professional to help prepare your return may be exactly what you need to breathe a little easier as the April 30, 2013 filing deadline approaches for the 2012 tax year.

Find the right type of specialist
When it comes to completing your tax return, not all specialists are equal. A good place to start is to read up on the difference between bookkeepers, tax preparers and accountants, and then evaluate which one possesses the skill set to best help you.

Do your research
Hiring a tax preparer requires a high degree of trust. Handing over responsibility for completing your tax return carries legal and monetary implications for your business and personal estate. What if the tax preparer gets it wrong?

Treat hiring a tax preparer as you would any other contractor or vendor and conduct due diligence. You can ask for customer references, interview the specialist directly and check out their business reputation by consulting resources such as those offered by the Better Business Bureau. Be sure to speak to your business associates in case they have any prior dealings with the individual or firm you are considering hiring.

Industry knowledge
Every business is unique and tax returns are no different. There are many commonalities, however, such as the deductions that are available to many home-based enterprises.

With that said, some industries benefit from additional deductible expenses and tax credits so it may be in your interest to investigate tax preparers who specialize in your field of business. For example, there are accounting firms that specialize in preparing returns for people working in the arts. Highly specialized services may cost more, so be sure to avoid unexpected invoices by clearly discussing fees in advance of any service engagement.

You can achieve significant peace of mind before, during and after your tax appointment by thoroughly vetting a tax specialist before using their services. Doing your homework will help you to find a supplier who meets your needs and budget.

Do you hire someone to help with your taxes? If so, what steps did you take when choosing a tax preparer? Please share your comments in the Get Growing For Business Discussion Group on LinkedIn.

By Roger Pierce, Small Business Expert for Scotiabank

Article originally featured on the website: Get Growing for Business. Find additional information and tools relevant to your business.

Tags: scotiabank, accounting, money, tax preparer, taxes

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