March 30, 2020

How to Find the Best C.P.A. or Tax Accountant Near You

So how do you find someone you can trust? Let us walk you through a three-step process to find a qualified C.P.A. or tax accountant near you.

Like with most service providers, a great way to find a C.P.A. or accountant is to ask for a referral. But don’t just go with the first name you get — compile a list of three or four potential accountants. Here’s how:

Dan Henn, a C.P.A. in Rockledge, Florida, said most of his business comes from referrals.

“Check with family, friends, business associates, co-workers, your attorney, financial adviser, or banker,” Mr. Henn said. “Find out who they use and if they’ve had a positive experience.”

C.P.A.s and accountants tend to focus on particular niches or specialties, such as small-business owners, high-net-worth individuals, or clients who work in certain industries. As a result, Mr. Henn recommends asking people you know with similar needs. “For example, if you’re a doctor, talk to other doctors and ask who they use,” he said.

The one qualification every paid tax preparer must have is a preparer tax identification number, or P.T.I.N. Anyone can apply for a P.T.I.N. online for free, so a P.T.I.N. alone isn’t indicative of the person’s skill or experience.

However, the I.R.S. maintains a directory of P.T.I.N. holders — such as C.P.A.s, enrolled agents (E.A.s), and attorneys — who have current credentials recognized by the I.R.S. The directory also includes people who have completed the Annual Filing Season Program, a series of voluntary continuing education classes covering federal tax law and ethics. Search the directory by ZIP code to find a C.P.A. or credentialed tax professional near you.

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