For today's small business owner, hiring a good tax advisor can pay enormous financial dividends.
A qualified tax pro can provide a small business owner with assistance in a number of different ways throughout the year, such as preparing taxes or simply reviewing them.
A tax pro can point out deductions you may have missed and flag anything that could potentially get you in trouble. Tax professionals are an integral part of any small business, so it's wise to invest time in finding a small business tax advisor who is best for you.
So how do you find a good tax pro?
Small business expert Steve Nielsen has a few recommendations on how to choose a tax professional, which he was kind enough to share with us. Steve is Co-Founder and CEO of PartnerUp (www.partnerup.com), an online community for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Steve offers three simple tips that will help small businesses find a tax professional that is right for them.
Tip #1: Identify the right tax professional for your business
Tax professionals come in three different forms—enrolled agents, certified public accountants and tax attorneys.
Enrolled agents are licensed by the IRS and are typically the least expensive of all. They typically offer bookkeeping or accounting services.
Certified public accountants (CPAs) are licensed and regulated by the states in which they operate. CPAs perform complex accounting and business-related tax preparation work.
Tax attorneys are lawyers with special tax degrees or tax specialization certification from the state bar association. Tax attorneys are the most expensive, but invaluable for people whose tax issues are dire or extremely complex.
Tip #2: Seek out referrals when looking for a tax advisor
Look no further than a friend, professional association or other reputable industry organization for a recommendation for a qualified tax pro.
Friends, family and business associates will be able to provide you with their own recommendations whereas a local bar association or a CPA society can assist in suggesting a competent professional.
Tip #3: Interview the tax professionals
Once you've narrowed down your choice to a few prospects, arrange a time to speak with them to learn more about their services to determine if they're an appropriate fit for your business needs.
Be sure to ask for their credentials and if there's a particular client in which they specialize. In addition, ask who will be your point of contact and how much time this person will have to dedicate to your case.
Finally, be sure to thoroughly discuss fees. Tax pros may bill by the hour, the form, the overall return, etc. It's important to be clear on exactly what you're paying for.