Finance and Economics > The Money Board

Selecting a tax accountant: How?


Mr. Bill:
So, suppose you were trying to find a tax accountant for your elderly parents.

They're in California, I'm in Washington state, so I can't do it in person.  A Google search for tax accountants in their city gives 7,360,000 results.  Yeah, I can narrow this down, and I'll look at reviews on Google and Yelp.  But if y'all have any suggestions beyond obvious stuff like that, I could sure use them.

Dad's been doing his taxes with TurboTax for years, but his abilities are declining at the same time as the complexity of their tax return is increasing.

Morning Sunshine:
I would look at Dave Ramsey's ELP's.  I haven't ever had need of them, but he says he only picks those with "the heart of a teacher" not a salesman.  YMMV.

Mr. Bill:
Thanks, I will check that out. :)

Mr. Bill:
Found this:

--- Quote ---Enrolled Agents (EAs) are federally-licensed tax practitioners who may represent taxpayers before the IRS when it comes to collections, audits and appeals. As authorized by the Department of Treasury's Circular 230 regulations, EAs are granted unlimited practice rights to represent taxpayers before IRS and are authorized to advise, represent, and prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts, and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. Enrolled agents are the only federally-licensed tax practitioners who specialize in taxation and have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS.
--- End quote ---

They have a search page:

Of course this only includes Enrolled Agents who are members of their organization (National Association of Enrolled Agents).

Mr. Bill:
IRS: Understanding Tax Return Preparer Credentials and Qualifications

--- Quote ---UNLIMITED REPRESENTATION RIGHTS: Enrolled agents, certified public accountants, and attorneys have unlimited representation rights before the IRS. Tax professionals with these credentials may represent their clients on any matters including audits, payment/collection issues, and appeals.
--- End quote ---

As distinct from "Annual Filing Season Program Participants" and other people who have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), who have limited representation rights.

IRS: Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications

--- Quote ---This searchable directory is intended to help you with your choice by providing a listing of preparers in your area who currently hold professional credentials recognized by the IRS or who hold an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion.
--- End quote ---


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