Doing your taxes is never fun. Sifting through a massive pile of paperwork to try to make heads or tails of the tax code is not only infuriating, but can also end up costing you quite a bit of money if you miss something. To make your life easier, you should consider hiring an accountant. Here are some tips to help you decide which kind of accountant you need.
What Service Do You Need?
Your first step is to determine what kind of service you need. Certified public accountants, enrolled agents, and tax attorneys all offer similar services, but there are some fundamental differences to be aware of.
Certified Public Accountant
These individuals have passed a series of qualifications in at least one state and are licensed to practice as an accountant in a variety of fiscal fields. While you can be sure that every CPA is knowledgeable about taxes and financials in general, your best bet will be to find a specialist. Try to find a CPA that practices in the field of income tax and personal financial advising.
With a CPA, you are hiring a personal accountant that can help you handle your taxes. Your CPA can help you prepare your taxes and maximize your returns for a fee, but they can also offer expertise in a variety of other financial areas if necessary.
While a CPA is licensed by individual states, an enrolled agent is educated, trained, and licensed by the IRS. This means that enrolled agents have particular expertise in the realm of taxation. On top of that, the qualifications for becoming and staying an enrolled agent are much more rigorous than those of a CPA, which means that you can be certain that you are paying for quality services.
If you're looking for an expert just to help file your basic taxes, then an enrolled agent is an excellent option.
Finally, there are tax attorneys. For individual taxes, chances are that you won't need the services of a tax attorney. However, if you are exceptionally wealthy or if you own a business, then you might. Since taxes can become very complicated as assets increase in size and scope, you might need to hire an attorney to handle the legal side of your wealth and its maintenance. Similarly, if you own a business, then taxes are a lot larger and more complex than individual taxes.
For more information and to find help for your particular needs, find tax services in your local area.