You can get an accountant to do your taxes. However, you must ensure they can live up to their claims if you want the right results. Otherwise, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise when the IRS processes your taxes. Luckily, there are numerous ways to check that an accountant is credible.
Look Up Their Credentials
Start by checking an accountant's credentials. This is the easiest way for you to ensure they have the education and experience needed to do their job. The first credential is the Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), which confirms that someone is a paid tax return preparer. Always ask for your accountant's PTIN before checking it against the IRS's database. Be warned that your accountant should have more credentials in need of confirmation because the requirements for a PTIN aren't that difficult. The IRS's database includes this information but isn't necessarily up-to-date. Due to this, you'll want to check with the organization that issues each credential. Sometimes, this means a state government agency. Other times, this means a professional association.
Check Their Online Reviews
Online reviews can't tell you everything. However, they should be able to reveal two critical things. First, you can use online reviews to confirm the accountant has been working with the kind of people they claim to have been working with. This matters because you want someone specializing in the tax matters you need help with. Second, you can use online reviews to get a general feel for how their clients see the accountant. One or two bad reviews aren't necessarily deal-breakers because no one is perfect. The question is whether you think the accountant is still reliable enough to trust with your taxes.
Scrutinize Their Language
What someone says reveals much about how they operate. Be wary of anyone who makes extravagant promises about what they can do for you. There's nothing wrong with enthusiasm. If anything, it tends to be a good thing because it suggests the accountant will put more effort into their work. Instead, the issue is when they seem willing to misrepresent the situation to get your business, which detracts from their effectiveness at their job. Besides this, you also want to pay attention to what an accountant says because you want to choose someone with whom you can work well together. It's best not to be completely hands-off with your tax preparation. You'll find it easier to safeguard your interests when you let the accountant do their job while communicating back and forth the entire way.
Confirm Their Willingness to Stand By the Tax Return
Ultimately, you want someone willing to stand by their work. This means the accountant must sign your tax return. Moreover, they should back you up on whatever tax-related issues come up, which includes everything from answering your questions to representing you before the IRS. A lack of willingness suggests a lack of confidence or worse. Whatever the case, it's a sign you should look elsewhere for your tax preparation needs.