Advice, Preparation . . . Results™

Choosing a new tax preparer (Part 1 of 2)

If you’re looking for a new preparer to complete your individual or business tax return, consider several variables before making this very important decision.

First, find someone you’re comfortable with who will meet your needs for several years. Ask your family and friends for referrals. You’ll share many personal details with this person: your marriage, children, income, etc. You need someone you trust.

You can also search the IRS website for Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), Attorneys, Enrolled Agents (EAs), and Annual Filing Season Program participants in your area.

The IRS created this list because nearly 50% of all preparers hold no credentials, according to IRS records.

CPAs and attorneys are licensed and subject to state regulations. They underwent much initial training and must participate in Continuing Professional Education (CPE) each year.

EAs are regulated by the IRS and also subject to an initial three-part exam, as well as mandatory CPE every year. The Annual Filing Season Program is voluntary, and participants are tested to ensure tax preparation competence.

While many non-credentialed preparers are competent, some are only interested in the fee you’ll pay them. Without credentials, you’ll struggle to determine if your preparer is qualified.

In part two of this blog post, we’ll provide questions to ask—a checklist or guide—when searching for a competent preparer who’s right for you.

Until then, if you’re short of time and seek answers on finding a qualified, ethical tax professional who meets your needs, the experienced team at Patrick & Robinson CPAs can help. Contact us at (904) 396-5400 or

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