There are just a couple weeks left to file your 2015 income tax return without requesting an extension. While oftentimes, doing your taxes for yourself is possible, at this stage in the game, many people are looking for a professional to help them not only file on time, but to also ensure their return is accurately file. Finding a competent tax professional can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few quick tips to remember:
1. While cost should be considered, it shouldn’t be the driving factor unless your quote is either extremely high, extremely low or you can’t even get one from the provider.
2. Beware of “Low, Low, Low Price!” marketing gimmicks! Often these turn into problems including upsells for each form, disappearing providers (ever try to find one of those folks in August?), or higher potential for mistakes.
3. Not everyone needs to use a CPA. Most tax payers do very well with a provider who isn’t. However, be sure the provider is Experienced, Trustworthy, and Educated!
4. Request a consult before getting started. Gauge the provider’s style, experience, and familiarity with your specific situations.
5. Never fall for the “We can prepare your taxes with your final pay stub.” scam. It’s a sure sign of a novice preparer or one that is more concerned with volume than exceptional service. Always use the proper forms. If you haven’t received your W2, call your employer immediately and request it be expedited to you immediately.
6. Off the shelf software works in a certain situations, but you can’t expect follow-up support if you’re audited or made a mistake or just have a question in November.
7. Remember that the “Billions left behind” ads touted by some of the big firms include their EXORBITANT prices charged for completing often simple returns. (I just couldn’t resist.)
8. You don’t have to sit in someone’s office and wait hours while they prepare your return. Today’s technology allows you to securely provide tax information to your provider. Who has time to sit and wait hours before they are seen and then another few hours until the return is done?
I can think of so many more, but we’ll leave it that for now. Remember, consult with a few professional to be sure you find the one who works best for your situation and personality.
Kemberli Stephenson is the Profit Sherpa. Through her company, AXIS Financial Group, LLC, she helps entrepreneurs achieve strategic, financial, & operational success in their businesses. With over 23 years of corporate finance & 12 years of entrepreneurial experience, Kemberli coaches her primarily female client base to design their dream businesses so they can live a life of Passion, Purpose and Profit. With a focus on her 4 Pillars Business Model, she helps each client reach their Peak Profit Potential.
She helps her clients streamline business processes while ensuring their financial data is translated into easy to understand and accurate depictions of the business. Kemberli’s specialized knowledge of business management and finance/accounting/tax issues, has kept her firm in high demand among entrepreneurs, executives & individuals.
Kemberli is a dynamic and experienced speaker/trainer and covers topics including Small Business Finance, Entrepreneurship, & Taxes for organizations and associations throughout the US. Kemberli currently lives in the Raleigh, NC area.