It's that time of year again, believe it or not! Some people have been known to say, the only two things that you can guarantee are death and taxes. We've actually written a little about the other topic in our Life Insurance post (http://www.cobosinsurance.net/blog/how-to-protect-your-family-with-life-insurance.aspx), so why not confront the other guarantee, which happens to be taxes! We all have to pay them, and unfortunately many of us have to hire someone to file our taxes due to the complexity of the tax codes. Some of you may file your own taxes, but for those of us who have less accounting skills, we will be seeking out the help of a tax preparation professional. We always seem to hear people asking about their taxes, how the find the right person to work with, and also what questions should they be asking their tax professional. We have done some research and with the help of ConsumerReports.com we were able to compile a list of the top 5 questions to ask your tax or potential tax professional.

Top 5 Questions to Ask your Tax Professional

What are your credentials?
Make sure the tax preparer has passed recent state or federal tests. Ask, too, if they are a member of a professional organization related to tax preparation and attends continuing education classes.

How much experience do you have? Look for a tax preparer who has had at least 7 to 10 years of experience. While that may not seem important, the more time a preparer has been working on tax returns, the more likely he is to have dealt with a tax situation similar to yours.

What kinds of clients do you usually work with?
Ideally, you want a preparer with clients similar to you. That way, he'll be able to give you the best service for your particular needs. 

Can you give me a price quote? Often, a tax preparer will say that he can't tell you what he'll charge until he determines which forms you'll need. But you can try to pin down an answer by presenting the forms you completed last year or by asking for a list of fees for various types of tax help. Avoid preparers who base their fees on a percentage of your refund.

Do you provide audit help? CPAs and enrolled agents can usually represent you before the IRS. The national chains provide free audit advice to clients, but you might have to pay extra to have someone accompany you to an audit or talk to the IRS on your behalf.

How do you choose?

Just like anything else in like that involves making a decision, you should probably weigh your options by pros and cons before deciding which tax professional person or service you would like to use, and even if you plan on doing your own taxes you may want to weigh your options as well. The famous football coach Lew Holtz was infamous for using a pro/con system for even the smallest of choices that he needed to make in his life. He said that the process of going through the checklist was even more beneficial than the actual results. I think we can all learn a thing or two about patience and embracing the process from Lew. Don't rush into anything and then regret it down the road, make sure to take your time when selecting a tax professional. Even if you are running up against a deadline, it might be better to file an extension rather than having to work with someone that you cant trust from the start. Hopefully you are able to make a decision long before the tax deadline approaches (which is why we are getting this article out early) but if not, weigh your options and make the most educated decision you can. There is no right or wrong answer in how you make a decision, it just has to feel right to you in the end. Your gut reaction, although it sometimes takes you in a different direction, it is usually right. If after you go through a full pros and cons list and you still cant make up your mind, feel free to call our office and we'd be happy to give you advice or a Cleveland Ohio tax professional recommendation!

Need Help Finding your Ohio School Tax Code?

Check out the website below if you need help finding your Ohio school tax code, it will allow you to search and find it based on your address or even just by using your zip code.

https://thefinder.tax.ohio.gov/streamlinesalestaxweb/default_schooldistrict.aspx

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