As tax season begins, many people are looking for experienced tax preparers to file their returns.
The right preparer can provide you with tax advice and develop tax strategies to save you money based on your situation.
More than 31 million returns were filed in Canada, with 17 million of those filed electronically by tax preparers and tax professionals.
Here's how to choose the right tax preparer for you:
- Consider your needs. When it comes to choosing the right tax preparer, much will depend on the complexity of your situation. It is critical to pick an accountant specializing in your situation. For instance, If you have investments, you will need to report your gains and losses on your tax return. If you are self-employed, sales and tax-deductible expenses should be stated. In any case, ensure your tax preparer has experience with similar situations.
- Review the tax preparer’s credentials. Although anyone can file a tax return for you, be sure to ask about these and/or other qualifications before deciding your tax preparer. If you are looking for a designated professional accountant the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC is the perfect resource in helping you find one near you. However, if you have a matter proceeding to tax court, you may want to consider retaining a tax lawyer, as this is a legal activity.
- Get referrals from friends and family. Ask your loved ones for recommendations. Once you have a few options, check BBB.org for consumer reviews or complaints. This will give you a clear view of what you can expect.
- Think about availability. If the CRA finds errors in your tax forms or decides to perform an audit, will your tax preparer be available to help you through it? Find out whether you can contact the tax preparer throughout the year or only during tax season.
- Ask about fees ahead of time. Before you agree to any services, read contracts carefully and understand how much the tax preparer charges for their services. Ask about extra fees for any unexpected complications.
- If things don’t add up, find someone else. If a tax preparer can’t verify their credentials, has a record of bad reviews from previous clients, or their business practices don’t seem convincing, don't do business with them. Keep in mind that if you hire them, this individual will handle your sensitive personal information – information you need to keep safe from corrupt or fraudulent tax preparers.
For more information, visit BBB's Tax Tips & Resources.
— source: Better Business Bureau