9 Questions to Ask Your CPA at Tax Time
Here are 9 questions to ask your CPA at tax time so that you keep all of your tax ducks in a row. A list of 9 questions to ask your CPA at tax time is just what you need. CPA’s are a critical part of the tax return process and it’s important that you have them on hand before you sign your tax return. It doesn’t matter how many questions you’ve prepared for beforehand, a CPA can still save you money and ease the stress of preparing a tax return.
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If you’re considering getting a tax expert to help you with your taxes, you may wonder questions to ask a tax advisor or CPA. There are a number of common questions that most people want to know, and many of these can be answered by your own personal accountant.
You want to get the most bang for your buck, and this may mean finding someone who can legitimately help you to minimize your tax bill. Additionally, asking how they prepare your taxes can help you decide how much time you need to devote to your tax preparation.
Many specialize in high-income tax advice or more basic services such as drafting a tax return or preparing tax returns for you.
However, there are still tax accountants who will charge less for their services, but then they may disappear or you may find yourself having to constantly chase them to get things done and that is stressful.
Since you want to save money, don’t go cheap just to save money. Ask how much all the services they’re charging are and ask to see a contract for the services they’ll be providing along with:
Some tax experts are state-licensed, which is a good thing. However, some of these may not be best for your specific situation. Find out if they are certified by the state to handle your type of taxes before you select them.
- How long will it take?
Other questions you may have are how long does it take to prepare a tax return, and how many years do I have to file it. Here’s the answer to that question. It depends on the size of your income, your filing status, and any other factors related to the tax return.
- How do you communicate?
Your tax return may be due in the mail soon. Do you need to have it back now? Many tax specialists offer 24-hour help and can process your tax return for you online. Be sure to ask if they offer an online service or if you must make time to go in and meet them in person.
- How to pay the taxes?
You’ll need to know where to send it, what taxes you need to pay, and how much money you have to paying taxes. Finding the right tax expert is important if you don’t already have one, so it’s always best to ask questions to get all the answers you need.
- What is their experience?
You need to know the number of years they’ve been in business, what their experience level is, what type of experience they have with financial matters, or if they have anyone who can provide you with other independent advice. You need to know how much experience they have with tax prep and if they use any specific software or tools.
- Do they have an interest in your niche?
If the CPA has been working with the same clients for a while you may not want to cut corners, hire someone who’s already familiar with your situation. A tax preparer who’s been doing the same job for twenty years and eagerly awaiting retirement may be a qualified candidate for you, but might not have experience in your area of business, for example, if you run an Amazon FBA store or e-commerce shop.
- Can you help with overdue tax returns?
Find out about any taxes that may not have been paid recently and your regular payment schedule. This should cover your past taxes. From our experience, a lot of clients looking for help already have one or two overdue tax returns or need to file back taxes or getting help to write a letter to get rid of tax penalties.
- Can you get a summary of your figures?
After you have shown them your records, don’t be afraid to request a report on any specific accounts that you’re curious about. This can help you to plan ahead of the tax deadlines and also see how to make more profits in your business.
- Do they give you advice and guidance?
Sometimes it’s better to receive some advice on tax matters early than waiting until the last minute and learning about some new tax law. While tax time is stressful, it’s also important to have enough time to get everything done in a timely manner. Ask your CPA to supply you with references ahead of time if needed.
Getting Help Before It’s Too Late
Even if you need a tax expert for your entire tax return, you still don’t have to do it all yourself. If you don’t understand a part of the law, you may be able to ask someone who does to explain it to you. A tax specialist can also be helpful when you have tax questions.
When you know how to prepare your taxes, but don’t know how to file them, having a tax professional can also be helpful. They have the experience to help you fill out the forms correctly, file them correctly, and return them to you correctly. While you don’t have to have a tax professional to help you, they can.
Once you’ve prepared your tax return, but don’t have it filed, you may want to talk to a tax specialist about filing it yourself. You’ll be required to have the forms filed. By choosing to have someone file for you, you may be able to save money or be better off paying the fee.
Remember, when you’re preparing your tax return, there are lots of things you need to remember.
Preparation starts with having your early-stage information all in one place. At this point, you’ve already sorted through your tax return and set goals for the tax season and you’ve completed your tax planning. You’re probably pretty happy with yourself and aren’t looking for an excuse to rush out and hire a CPA.
If you were to hire a professional to help you manage your financial aid and medical expenses it would be a waste of money. With the right people in place now you’ll be able to better handle the financial issues that come up and allow you to see the bigger picture.
When you choose to go it alone, you’re creating more of a headache than a person could handle. That’s why so many people choose to hire a CPA. Tax season is a great time to start to build a relationship with your CPA and find out if you want to stick with them for the long haul.
Once you have a good relationship with your CPA you’ll have no problem in asking any questions you have about the service they provide you with. You can share your concerns and worries, but also inquire about specific details of the tax return process and have it all laid out in front of you for you to use as you need it. The only thing stopping you now is time.
When you hire a CPA, you may be paying them by the hour. So they can’t just walk into your office and tell you exactly what to do. They can only give you advice and suggestions based on the information they have available to them. Some of it will be generic and you’ll need to find out what it is.
Make sure you address specific needs but don’t limit your CPA to just those choices. Knowing what you’re up against will make it easier to get the best advice possible for your particular situation. No matter how good you feel about your tax preparation service or accountant if you haven’t used them before you may be falling for a sales pitch.
The list above are some things you’ll want to know about when you’re hiring a CPA.
Finally, if you don’t have a choice, try to get a written assurance that you’re getting real and professional advice along with a quote. This way you know you’re not being taken advantage of, but instead, you’re getting honest and helpful advice.
The last thing you want is surprises or setbacks so be bold and make sure you know the 9 questions to ask your CPA at tax time.