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Prep for Tax Time: What to Look for in a Tax Preparer

Once the ball has dropped in Times Square and the champagne has popped, it’s officially the start of a brand new year — and a brand new tax season. From Jan. 1 through April 15, businesses large and small will be sorting through old invoices, reviewing bank statements, and crunching the numbers. As tax day looms, many of these businesses will discover they need a helping hand — a trusted tax preparer who can take care of all their financials. You might need some help, too. Here are some of the things you should look for in a tax preparer in 2019.

The Documents You Need

Your tax preparer requires the right documents in order to organize your accounts for tax season. These documents might include:

  • Bank statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Loan statements
  • Other financial agreements
  • Receipts
  • Invoices
  • Payroll records

Try and have all these documents in order before you work with your tax preparer. Searching for an old bank statement from the previous May, for example, will only slow down the tax prep process.

The Questions You Should Ask Your Tax Preparer

Ask the right questions and you can get all the information you need this tax season. Here are some of the things you might want to ask:

  • Am I entitled to any tax breaks or tax relief?
  • What business expenses can I deduct from my tax bill?
  • What about my travel expenses?
  • What about other expenses?
  • How can I make savings in the future?
  • Can you help me manage cash flow?
  • What happens if I file my taxes late?

Choose the Right Tax Preparer

No two tax preparers are the same. You need to choose one who benefits your business and provides you with the best service. Look for a preparer with the right credentials. These should appear on their website but, if in doubt, inquire further.

You can also check your preparer’s social media profiles and see how they interact with other customers and clients. This will provide you with insights into whether they are enthusiastic about their services.

A good tax preparer will take an interest in your business brand and discover ways that you can save money. Find out about a potential tax preparer’s skills, such as time management, industry knowledge, and communication.

The Steps You Should Take

Here are the steps you should take when you work with a tax preparer:

  1. Collect Your Records

Gather all your business records — receipts, invoices, bank statements, etc. — and keep them in a safe place. Your tax preparer will want to review these documents.

  1. Work With Your Preparer

Work closely as tax day gets closer. Remember, your tax preparer is not a mind reader, and you will need to be honest about your financial situation. Provide all the documents they ask for to see the best results.

  1. Pay Close Attention to Deadlines

Be aware of different filing deadlines. These will depend on the type of business you have. Late filing will result in penalties, so make sure you get everything done on time. Your tax preparer will help you do this.

 

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