Find Best CPA or Tax Accountant Near me

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If you recoil at the thought of preparing your own tax return and wonder how you can find a good certified public accountant (C.P.A.) or tax accountant, you're not alone.

Why you Need to be Careful When Choosing a CPA

Each year, the I.R.S. compiles a "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams. Although the scams are wide-ranging, many of them include actions taken by shady tax preparers, such as promising inflated refunds, falsely claiming deductions and credits, or encouraging clients to avoid their tax obligations.

Unfortunately, pretty much anyone can become a paid tax preparer. Most states have few to no requirements for certification, training, or even competency testing.

So how do you find someone you can trust? Let us walk you through a three-step process to find a qualified CPA or tax accountant near you.

Step 1: Compile a list of potential CPAs and tax accountants

Like with most service providers, a great way to find a CPA or accountant is to ask for a referral. Be that as it may, don't simply go with the principal name you get or just search online with the best tax preparers near me - compile a list of three or four potential accountants. Here's how:

Ask friends, family, and co-workers for referrals.

CPAs and accountants tend to focus on particular niches or specialties, such as small-business owners, high-net-worth individuals, or clients who work in certain industries.

Search the I.R.S. directory.

The one qualification every paid tax preparer should have is a preparer tax identification number, or P.T.I.N. Anyone can apply for a P.T.I.N. online for free, so a P.T.I.N. alone isn't indicative of the person's expertise or experience.

However, the I.R.S. maintains a directory of P.T.I.N. holders - such as CPAs, enrolled agents (E.A.s), and attorneys - who have current credentials recognized by the I.R.S. The directory also includes people who have completed the Annual Filing Season Program, a series of voluntary continuing education classes covering federal tax law and ethics. Search the directory by ZIP code to find a C.P.A. or credentialed tax professional near you.

Check with your state or national associations.

Many state boards of accountancy and state CPAs. societies maintain online directories of members or can provide a list of tax pros in your area when asked. Not every CPA prepares taxes, so you may need to do some research online or call to see if the people on your list provide the type of tax services you need.

E.A.s are federally licensed tax practitioners who are authorized to advise, represent, and prepare tax returns for individuals and businesses. The National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) maintains a directory of EAs. You can search the directory by location, specialties, language, experience, and more.

Consider free tax-preparation resources.

If you make less than $56,000 per year or are age 60 and older, you may want to look into having your tax return prepared through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (T.C.E.) programs.

These programs are sponsored by the I.R.S. and staffed by volunteers trained to provide basic tax-prep services to the public free of charge. If you qualify, use the VITA/T.C.E. locator tool to find a provider near you.

According to the I.R.S., most VITA and T.C.E. sites will not appear in your search results until about three weeks before they're scheduled to open. If you search for a site outside of mid-January through April, you may have a difficult time finding one near you.

Once you find a location, check out the I.R.S. list of what to bring to your tax appointment before you go.

Step 2: Narrow down your options

Once you've made a list of potential tax preparers near you, it's time to zero in on whose best. Here's what to do:

Verify their credentials.

If you got the tax preparer's name from the I.R.S., your state board of accountancy, a state C.P.A. society, or the NAEA, their credentials are probably legitimate. However, if you helped the name through a referral, it's a good idea to find out whether the person holds the certifications they claim to have.

Forty-seven states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam participate in CPA. Verify, an online central repository of information about licensed CPAs and public accounting firms. Search or your state's Board of Accountancy website to verify the credentials of a CPA. So you can avail professional and licensed tax preparation services in Virginia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and forty-seven states.

You can double-check the status of an E.A. at

Read online reviews.

Look at your potential CPA or tax preparer's website and social media accounts to see what sorts of things they post online. Read online reviews on Yelp, Google, Angie's List, Thervo, and Facebook. Google their name to see what comes up - and scroll through the initial few pages of search results to make sure nothing is buried.

Make an appointment.

Now that you've narrowed down your list to the most promising prospects, reach out and ask them to meet in person immediately. Yet, be warned: If you wait to make an appointment until the 2020 tax season is well underway, you may have a hard time finding someone who has time to sit down with you. Set up a meeting at once, even if you don't yet have all of your tax documents ready.

Step 3: Interview a prospective C.P.A.

When you meet with a potential accountant, bring a copy of your latest tax return. Reviewing your latest return is one of the best ways for the tax pro to evaluate your situation and give you an idea of how much they could charge.

Be prepared to let your potential accountant know about any significant life changes you've experienced in the past year, like if you got married (or divorced), invested in rental property, or started a business.

Bonus step: Look outside where you live

If even on searching online for the best tax preparers near you you don't find a tax preparer or CPA. near you whom you feel comfortable working with, consider looking outside of your geographic location. Though many people prefer face-to-face meetings, you aren't limited to CPAs and tax advisors in your town.

Also Read: Ultimate Guide to 2023 California Tax Brackets

It may be time to decide how important that face-to-face connection really is to you.

No matter who prepares your tax return, remember: You are ultimately responsible for its contents. Never sign a tax return before checking that it's accurate. If you're not sure about something, ask the preparer to explain it. When you sign your return - whether with a pen or electronically - you're asserting under penalty of perjury that it's complete and accurate.

Take the time to hire a reputable tax pro and review their work carefully to help ease your worries this tax season.

Global FPO? ( is an? Outsourcing Accounting firm consistently recognized for its exceptional outcomes and? strong work culture,?with 500+ happy and satisfied clients? across.?They provideeverything from straightforward tax return work, or basic bookkeeping, to advanced & complex Financial Statements to CPAs and accounting Firms implementing best industry practices & values. Their Accounting solutions are comprehensive, customized? to a unique business operating model, and use “best-of-breed” technology under a strong two-tier reviewing mechanism ensuring minimum? risk of error.?

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