PREPARING your tax return can be a challenge, owing to the complexity of the tax code. It makes sense to hire a pro.
Choose carefully, perhaps beginning by seeking referrals. Then ask for an interview. The accountant should be willing to discuss and assess your situation for free before you strike any agreement.
* How big is your firm? (How important will your business be to the company?)
* What are your fees and billing policies? (Ask for an estimate.)
* Who will be preparing my taxes - you or someone else? Whom do I approach with questions?
* What are your continuing-professional-education requirements, and how many hours do you take each year? (Exceeding the requirements is a good sign.)
* What research material do you use and subscribe to? (Answers such as "CCH," "Research Institute" and "BNA" are encouraging. If the answer is merely the current Federal Tax Handbook, that's a red flag. Some of us have complicated tax issues that require deep research.)
* If my return is audited, will you represent me before the IRS? (Ideally, he or she should go instead of you, not with you.)