How to Find a Tax Preparer: What to Look for in a Tax Professional

You want to find a tax preparer who's qualified, reasonable and knowledgeable to file your taxes. How do you get a tax professional that's right for you?

Two women talking over a desk with the woman in the foreground having her hands on her head in frustration
(Image credit: Getty)

 Maybe filing your tax return is as simple as reporting your W-2 wages and claiming the standard deduction. Or perhaps it’s more complicated because you sold a rental property, and have large investment gains and losses?  Or you're self-employed and file Schedule C. No matter how simple or complex your return is, if you’re like many filers, you’d rather pay to have someone else prepare your return. 

But if you don’t already know a tax preparer, how do you go about finding someone who is qualified and knows the tax laws, while also weeding out those unreliable preparers that the IRS or the Better Business Bureau is always warning about? There is a better way than searching through the phone book or googling “tax return preparers.” Here are tips for choosing someone qualified to help prepare your return.

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Joy Taylor
Editor, The Kiplinger Tax Letter

Joy is an experienced CPA and tax attorney with an L.L.M. in Taxation from New York University School of Law. After many years working for big law and accounting firms, Joy saw the light and now puts her education, legal experience and in-depth knowledge of federal tax law to use writing for Kiplinger. She writes and edits The Kiplinger Tax Letter and contributes federal tax and retirement stories to and Kiplinger’s Retirement Report. Her articles have been picked up by the Washington Post and other media outlets. Joy has also appeared as a tax expert in newspapers, on television and on radio discussing federal tax developments.