Tax preparation is a significant annual responsibility that an expert should handle. Find out our tips for working with the best tax accountants when preparing your income tax return.
There are few things more important than your finances, whether personal or commercial. One of the most important decisions you will make is choosing the appropriate accountant suitable for your needs. After all, they are entrusted with your financial statements and to ensure tax compliance. Getting it wrong could cost you money and your reputation. Our team of accountants at Fiscal Experts organizes expenses and revenues, providing accurate financial statements and budgets. In addition, we assist individuals and companies in filing their tax returns in a timely and correct manner.
Tax laws are often complicated and change from time to time. When an individual or corporation prepares their tax returns, they often suffer huge losses because they are unfamiliar with tax credits, deductions, and exemptions available to them. Not to mention you could risk losing your money and information to illegitimate tax scammers. Our tax accountants keep your data safe, secure and work to get the most out of your tax returns without bending the rules.
Corporations and small businesses may experience further complications since many of their operations have tax consequences, some of which can incur personal liability on senior executives and company directors. However, proper tax planning and preparation can, over time, drastically reduce the amount of taxes you pay, both for corporations and individuals alike. Furthermore, it is easier to grow your business when you hire a competent accountant to take care of trivial tax affairs.
We at Fiscal Experts prepared a checklist to help you find the best tax accountants for your tax needs.
Choose a tax accountant.
Contrary to popular belief, not all Canadian accountants are regulated. For many years, the accounting profession was split into three designations:
- Chartered Accountant (CA)
- Certified General Accountant (CGA)
- Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
However, CA, CGA, and CMA have been merged into one designation: the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). Accountants who obtained their title before the CPA merger may still use these designations, but they are now considered part of the CPA designation as well.
Accountants with a CPA designation are trained and educated to deal only with large public corporations. Most of them have little if any training or expertise in tax accounting. CPA services are also costly. A small or medium business usually does not need an accountant with a CPA designation because they are overqualified and might not understand the real need of a small or medium business corporation.
On the other hand, a tax accountant is trained, educated, experienced, and considered an expert in tax preparation, tax filing, tax laws, rules and regulations, tax audit, and review process.
Tax accountants study tax laws, rules, and regulations and know how to handle your tax situation, business activities, and operations closely. They are the best professionals to assist you on any tax issues that might arise, tax planning, and tax strategies that fit you and your business. You won’t need to hire additional staff or outsource accountants for your reporting.
Find an accountant with relevant expertise.
The right tax accountant will review and understand your tax needs. Most accountants have expertise in different areas, so you should hire an expert in your field who knows how to deal with accounting issues specific to you and your business. For example, certain professionals offer bookkeeping services and tax preparation, while others specialize in guiding business and real estate transactions.
When you work with professionals who are familiar with your type of business and needs, you avoid running into issues that can negatively impact your success. This is even more important to self-employed and freelancers. The last thing you want is the CRA red-flagging your name.
Always ask your prospective tax accountants what tax issues they specialize in. Then, make sure you hire a tax accountant who will help you make the most out of your taxes.
Ask for referrals and reviews.
First, you should Google your prospective tax accountant’s name. The internet has a lot of information on someone, especially if they have a business.
Today, every business must have a website. Check if your tax accountant has a profile on social media and see what they post and how they interact with their followers. You can also check Yelp, Google, Angie’s List, and Facebook for reviews. What your tax accountant does on the internet says a lot about how professional they are and how much they care about their business and customers.
Don’t be too alarmed if you find some negative reviews. Remember that if the positive reviews outweigh the bad, the accountant is probably a good professional. It’s always good to read the negative reviews to see why people were unsatisfied if it is something that is important to you. For example, a client may have complained that the professional doesn’t work on the weekend, but you may not be bothered by that.
Fees vary by professional and region. A CPA, for example, will charge much more than a tax accountant. However, your accountant may give you an estimate of what they will charge if you show them your previous tax returns.
It’s also a good idea to ask if they charge a flat fee or an hourly rate. That way, you can estimate how much it will cost you and budget accordingly. Finally, ask them what the costs include. If they are too high, you can try to negotiate a fee that makes sense for both of you.
Find an accountant who is available when you need them the most.
Tax accountants can help you navigate the process of filing your taxes and resolving any issues you may have with the CRA, primarily if you are audited or have a simple question before entering a transaction. It’s always good to have someone you trust available in case of an emergency. A professional who has your back can help you feel confident and less worried about the future of your business.
Make sure you are in touch with your tax accountant. Your tax accountant will realize that you also care about your business’s good standing before the CRA. Availability is key. Ask if you can still contact your tax preparer, email them, or schedule an appointment even after tax season has ended and your tax return is filed.
Beware of CPAs or tax accountants who promise huge refunds and deductions.
If you meet with a tax accountant who tells you they can get you the best tax refunds even before they review your tax situation, that’s a big red flag. Tax refunds and deductions depend on several factors, which means tax preparation must be personalized — it’s not a “one size fits all” type of task.
If you feel something is off after speaking to the tax accountant, pull the plug and continue with your search for a professional who will help you with your taxes. It’s not worth risking your hard work and money on a promise that sounds too good to be true.
Meet tax accountants for a casual chat — no strings attached.
You should never entrust your financial and personal information to someone you don’t know and trust. It is important to feel comfortable and confident with your tax accountant because they will play a significant role in your financial security.
Before you make a definite choice:
- Meet with a few tax accountants and assess their qualifications and experience in the field.
- See if these match your needs and if they are an excellent candidate to take care of your finances.
- Talk to them about common tax issues in your field and their experience.
You can also request proof of liability insurance. That’s the most crucial insurance policy an accountant can carry to protect their firm against negligence, errors, and omissions.
Hiring a tax accountant takes time and careful review of their qualifications. That’s why you should ask them to explain basic accounting concepts, talk about which accounting software they use, and what additional services they offer.
Also, ask them to explain their business policies, such as fees and communication. Last but not least, ask about their experience, where they have worked, which clients they have worked for, and their accounting strengths.
Check their reputation.
If you want to check an accountant’s reputation, you can go to the provincial judgment registry to see if the accountant has been sued and for what reason.
You should also check their reviews online and ask for friends’ referrals. In addition, you may want to contact companies they’ve worked for and ask how they felt about the services provided by the accountant. Finally, even when the accountant is not a CPA, you should check if they have relevant certifications and training.
If a friend recommended the tax accountant, make sure your friend has a long-lasting relationship with the accountant and that they trust their qualifications and expertise.
Good accountants help you get the most out of your taxes.
Tax accountants are qualified professionals who should be focused on helping you understand and navigate taxation processes. Before hiring an accountant, check if they can go the extra mile. Do they have enough connections that will broaden their expertise? For example, do they work with a tax lawyer that you can rely on if needed?
A good accountant will review and work with your goals and provide personalized solutions to your needs so that you can get the most out of your tax returns.
Fiscal Experts Accountants Always Have Your Back
Your taxes can bolster your business success when done right. That’s why you should look for a trustworthy professional to handle your finances and prepare your taxes. Look for professionals who can keep track of your income and expenses so that you don’t have to worry about it when tax season arrives.
We specialize in income tax preparation for businesses, individuals, corporations, and more at Fiscal Experts. We help clients comply with their tax obligations, providing accurate reports, professionalism, expertise, and experience in many areas. Our professionals offer 12 months of tax advice and consultation and provide a full spectrum of services to suit your specific needs.
We are committed to tax transparency and individualized tax compliance strategies for our clients. Our accountants study and know your line of business to keep your books and records organized and audit-ready.