Avoid Tax Nightmares: 6 Tips on Choosing a Reputable Tax Preparer

Tax Preparer

Tax season is just around the corner, and for many Americans, that means it’s time to start thinking about filing their taxes. While some people prefer to do their own taxes, others hire a professional tax preparer to help them navigate the complex tax laws and regulations. 

However, not all tax preparers are created equal, and choosing the wrong one can lead to serious consequences. In this article, we will provide you with tips on how to choose a reputable tax preparer.

Understand the Different Types of Tax Preparers

Before you start looking for a tax preparer, you must understand the different types of tax preparers that are available. There are three main types of tax preparers:

  1. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs): CPAs are licensed professionals who have passed a rigorous exam and have met specific education and experience requirements. They are trained to handle complex tax issues and can represent you in case of an audit.
  2. Enrolled Agents (EAs): EAs are tax professionals who have passed an exam administered by the IRS. They are authorized to represent taxpayers before the IRS.
  3. Tax Preparers: Tax preparers may have varying levels of education and experience. They are not licensed by any regulatory body, but they can still prepare your taxes.

Check Their Credentials

Once you have identified the type of tax preparer you want to work with, the next thing to do is to check their credentials. You can do this by asking for their PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number) and checking it with the IRS. You can also check if they have professional certifications or membership in professional organizations.

You can also check their record with the Better Business Bureau and look for complaints or negative reviews.

Interview Potential Tax Preparers

Once you have a list of potential tax preparers, you must interview them to find the best fit for you. During the interview, you can ask about their experience, fees, and approach to tax preparation.

You can also ask for references and follow up with them to understand how the tax preparer works with clients.

Avoid Preparers Who Promise Large Refunds

One red flag to watch out for when choosing a tax preparer is someone who promises you a large refund. While it’s true that tax preparers can help you maximize your deductions and credits, they cannot guarantee a specific refund amount.

Additionally, if a tax preparer asks you to sign a blank tax return or charges you a percentage of your refund, it’s best to avoid them.

Make Sure They Provide a Clear Fee Structure

Before hiring a tax preparer, make sure you understand their fee structure. Some tax preparers charge a flat fee, while others charge an hourly rate. It’s important to understand what services are included in the fee and what additional services may incur extra charges.

Also, ensure you get a written agreement outlining the services, fees, and payment terms.

Choose a Tax Preparer Who Will Be Available Year-Round

While tax season only lasts a few months, choose a tax preparer who will be available year-round. This is especially important if you have questions or need assistance with tax planning throughout the year.


Choosing a reputable tax preparer can save you time, money, and stress when filing your taxes. By understanding the different types of tax preparers, checking their credentials, asking for referrals, interviewing potential tax preparers, avoiding those who promise large refunds, making sure they provide a transparent fee structure, and choosing someone who will be available year-round, you can find the right tax preparer for you.

Ash CPA is one of the best CPA firms in Framingham, MA. We are the go-to for all CPA and business accounting services, so choosing us places your tax schedules and business forms in good hands. Contact us today!