5 Less Obvious Signs Of A Good Tax Preparer

When you choose someone to prepare your taxes for you, you want a reliable and ethical preparer who won't bring down trouble with the IRS or your state tax agencies. But it can be hard to know when you have a good preparer because most Americans have little knowledge of the tax code. To help you, here are a few lesser-known indicators that you found a good preparer.

1. They Ask Questions and Listen

Tax preparers should get to know their clients' life changes over the course of the past year. Many events, ranging from having another child to investing in a retirement account, can affect their taxes. So a good preparer will ask questions before beginning, follow up with additional inquiries, and listen to your answers carefully.

2. They're Always Available

How available is your preparer before and after your appointment? What about in the off-season? Do they respond in a timely manner, answer the phone, and schedule appointments outside of the primary tax season? Being there for clients is a sign that your preparer is operating as a proper business and that they will continue to support you if you need them. 

3. Your Numbers Vary

Some taxpayers' income tax situation is relatively similar each year, but others have many changes from year to year that affect their tax numbers. You should see a variation in your own tax refunds and amounts owed due to natural ebbs and flows of life. If your numbers are remarkably the same every time, ask more questions about how these were achieved. 

4. They're Proactive

Does your preparer think about clients when the client isn't sitting in their office? Do they remind you about estimated payments, offer midyear tax checkups, or notify you about relevant tax law changes? While most Americans are reactionary when it comes to tax planning, your preparer should be working to lower your tax burden all year long. 

5. You Don't Get Your Way

When you pay a professional, you expect to get what you pay for. But you also pay for their expertise and experience. While a tax preparer can use loopholes and make certain legal adjustments, they should not engage in any unethical or downright wrong behavior. So if your preparer never tells you 'no' or never explains why you can't take a certain deduction, they could be doing things you don't want part of. 

By knowing the less obvious signs of a good tax preparer, you ensure the lowest tax rates without asking for trouble with the state or federal government. Want to know more? Meet with accountants in your area who specialize in tax preparation today, and look for these good qualities.