As your business grows, tax matters get more complicated. To save time and eliminate those IRS-induced headaches, you’ll want to hire someone to assist you. And you need to do it now, no matter what time of year it is — and not wait until next April.
Make sure any tax professional you choose has appropriate credentials. A certified public accountant or CPA, an enrolled agent or EA, and a tax attorney all fit the bill. All of these individuals are required to earn continuing education credits that keep them updated on any tax law changes.
A CPA can help you create a total financial plan for your company and guide you through complicated taxes. For new business owners, a CPA might be the best choice. You can locate one through the American Institute of CPAs. An EA has either passed a three-part comprehensive IRS test covering individual and business tax returns or previously worked as an IRS employee. To find one near you, use the online search tool at the National Association of Enrolled Agents site.
For legal issues, you can connect with a tax attorney by contacting your local bar association. He or she will represent you to the IRS or in court should the need arise.
When making your decision you’ll want to find out:
- How long has this person been in business?
- Does the person have references?
- Are you comfortable with this individual on a personal level? (Remember, they will handle sensitive information about you and your business.)
- Will you be able to meet with the person all year, and not just at tax time?
- Make sure your tax professional has a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), which means he is registered with the IRS.
- If you want to keep an eye on when to do what to make taxes easier, you’ll find detailed information on the calendar from the IRS for small business owners.