Filing tax is a bit of a herculean task to most people. It requires dedication, hard work, and a lot of time for individuals and businesses alike. It is daunting to both the learned and unlearned. This is mostly because tax gets people confused easily because you have sort to through a lot of paperwork, learn a lot of ‘jargon,’ and keep up with the changing regulations.
The good news!
There are specially trained individuals known as Enrolled Agents that can help you with your tax and tax-related issues. An enrolled agent is a licensed tax advisor that is qualified to file a tax return, deal with an audit, decide payment, solve collection issues, or appeal a fine before the internal revenue service.
The unique thing about enrolled agents is that they are a one-stop shop for all your tax-related matters. This is why they have unlimited representation rights, that is, unlimited practice rights. This indicates that they can represent you as an individual, your small business, or your group as an entity. They also have unlimited scope and can help you with any aspect of your taxes.
- 1 Typically, an Enrolled Agent can do these for you:
- 2 Not to worry, I am here to share 7 things to look for when hiring an enrolled Agent.
Typically, an Enrolled Agent can do these for you:
- Advise you on all tax matters
- Aid you in tax planning;
- Help you navigate complex tax regulations
- Help you with the filing of your tax return
- Represent you before the IRS for audit, payment, and collection.
I cannot overemphasize the need for you to hire an enrolled agent –you need one to help you with your tax matters. Getting an enrolled agent isn’t hard. Things only get tricky when you try to get the right enrolled agent who is competent, hardworking, and trustworthy.
1. Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN):
This should be the basis of your tax relationship with your enroller. Certified Public Accountants, Licensed Tax Attorneys, and Enrolled Agents all have IRS PTIN that qualifies them as tax advisors. It is a basic requirement for all compensated tax preparers. IRS also requires that your agents put his PTIN number on your return. One thing to note is that anyone can prepare your returns, but not anyone can represent you. anyone that wants to represent you must have a PTIN.
2. License and qualification:
PTIN is relatively easy to come by. The fact is that many tax preparers (asides volunteers) have PTIN. The case is not the same with license or destination. Remember, I mentioned that CPAs, LTAs, and EAs all have PTIN, but not all who possess PTIN are CPA, LTA, or an EA.
You need to get a credentialed personnel to prepare and file your tax returns. The person must have taken and completed a professional course on tax such as Accredited Business Accountant/Advisor and Accredited Tax Preparer programs. This designation grants the EA unlimited representation rights before the IRS.
Read Also: Reasons You Haven’t Received Your Tax Refund
3. EA’s services:
Each EA has his area of strength and this usually becomes their area of specialization. Check out the type of service offered by the prospects and have a detailed discussion on the type of service you would need. This discussion will let you in on the services provided by the EA.
It will allow you to know if he is best suited to handle your tax matters or you have to hire someone else. This is a critical criterion since each business and individual is unique and requires a distinctive approach to tax preparation, filing, and representation.
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4. Compare Fees:
Except you hire a volunteer EA, you will need to remunerate your tax preparer. Each enrolled agent will charge you a fee based on the type and complexity of the tax representation. Sample a few Enrolled agents to know the average fee you are to pay. Then choose the most suitable EA to represent you.
this is one of the subtle, yet important things you must look out for when hiring an enrolled agent. This might not be a point of concern for you if your Tax-Preparer does less than 10 returns. Once he does up to 10 returns, he is required by the IRS to file electronically via the IRS’ e-file system. It is compulsory that the EA you would hire offers an e-file system even If you don’t need it yet. find an enrolled agent who doesn’t offer an e-file system isn’t doing as much tax prep as required.
6. Signing on the line:
A lot of people have been ripped off their tax returns by some fraudulent and unqualified tax preparers. One way to check is to ensure that your enrolled agent is going to put his PTIN and signature on your returns form. They are required to do so and an EA that would defraud you by taking your returns would not put his PTIN.
the person of your EA is also important. The character might be a little bit tricky to ascertain but there are some things you could look out for. He must:
- Be accessible. He must have time for you;
- Have a reputation for integrity and honesty;
- Possess excellent organization skills;
- Ready to listen to you, patiently;
- Attentive to security and individual details;
- Provide tax-matters counseling; and
- Have your back.
Now that you know the things to look for when you are ready to enrolled agent lookup one that would suit you.