2505 Anderson Ave, Ste 103
Manhattan, KS 66502

Choosing a Tax Professional

February 18, 2015

Choosing a Tax Professional

A tax return preparer is trusted with your most personal information. They know about your marriage, your income, your children and your social security numbers – the details of your financial life. Most tax return preparers provide outstanding service. However, each year, some taxpayers are hurt financially because they choose the wrong tax return preparer. Anyone can be a paid tax return preparer as long as they have an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and they sign and enter it on all returns they prepare. However, tax return preparers have differing levels of skills, education and expertise. Choose wisely when selecting a paid tax return preparer. Always inquire about their education and training.

Understanding Tax Return Preparer Credentials and Qualifications

Any tax professional with an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) is authorized to prepare federal tax returns. An important difference in the types of practitioners is “representation rights.” Here is guidance on each credential and qualification: UNLIMITED REPRESENTATION RIGHTS: Enrolled agents, certified public accountants, and attorneys have unlimited representation rights before the IRS. Tax professionals with these credentials may represent their clients on any matters including audits, payment/collection issues, and appeals. Enrolled Agents – Licensed by the IRS. Enrolled agents are subject to a suitability check and must pass a three-part Special Enrollment Examination, which is a comprehensive exam that requires them to demonstrate proficiency in federal tax planning, individual and business tax return preparation, and representation. They must complete 72 hours of continuing education every 3 years. Certified Public Accountants – Licensed by state boards of accountancy, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Certified public accountants have passed the Uniform CPA Examination. They have completed a study in accounting at a college or university and also met experience and good character requirements established by their respective boards of accountancy. In addition, CPAs must comply with ethical requirements and complete specified levels of continuing education in order to maintain an active CPA license. CPAs may offer a range of services; some CPAs specialize in tax preparation and planning. Attorneys – Licensed by state courts, the District of Columbia or their designees, such as the state bar. Generally, they have earned a degree in law and passed a bar exam. Attorneys generally have on-going continuing education and professional character standards. Attorneys may offer a range of services; some attorneys specialize in tax preparation and planning.

IRS Tax Pro Association Partners

Many tax professionals belong to national organizations that provide their members with continuing education and ethical guidelines. If you are interested in finding a tax professional, the following IRS partners can help: American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) The AICPA is the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession. CPAs bring an unmatched level of knowledge, experience and education to the tax planning and preparation process.

<< Go Back



VonFeldt, Bauer & VonFeldt
Website Designed & Hosted by Outdoor Resources, LLC