1. Understand the complexity of your return. If you have just a few W-2’s and can file a Form 1040-EZ then most any registered tax preparer will be able to competently handle your filing. However, if you have rental property, a small business or other complexities, you should get a CPA to prepare your tax filings. 
  2. Realize that fees should be based on the education and experience of the preparer and the difficulty of your return. CPAs are more expensive than Enrolled Agents; who are more expensive then non-credentialed preparers. Filing single with no dependents and one W-2 will cost you much less than a married filing joint return with two dependents, child credits and dependent care expenses.
  3. Check out the reputation of your preparer both online and with the governing body overseeing your preparers credential.  The internet is a wonderful place to start your due diligence regarding your prospective preparer. But don’t forget to check with the organization that oversees your preparer as well.
  4. Meet with your proposed preparer and make sure you understand each other. Talk to your preparer. Do you understand him or her? Does your preparer understand you and your needs? Do you enjoy talking to your preparer or is it pure drudgery?

David M. Snyder, CPA

The Tax Axe, LLC