Tax preparation season is upon us, making it an ideal time to assess your relationships with the tax professionals currently in your corner. Here are some things to turn your tax time headaches into celebratory high-fives with the professional who best fits your needs.

What to Ask a Tax Professional

When selecting a tax professional, interview your future primary contact—the one who will be your point of contact and communicate/manage your services. Assess the firm’s areas and depth of their expertise, identify how they conduct business, and determine what to expect once you hire them. This interaction empowers you to make an informed decision rather than relying on reviews or word of mouth alone.

How and when can we interact? First, assess your own meeting preferences—via email, a virtual meeting, or face-to-face interactions. How frequently do you prefer these interactions? Your answers to these key questions define your expectations. Ideally, you hire a firm that fulfills these needs, thereby eliminating the frustration of future interactions with your relationship.

Do you frequently require an immediate response? Be conscious of your need for a timely reply or require an immediate response from your contact or team. Frequently, accepting a response from a team member decreases the response time for many inquiries or interactions.

What services does your firm offer? Next, write an inventory of the services you or your family unit require—tax return preparation, tax planning, navigating tax law changes, or other advisory services like investments. Consider your needs for career/industry-specific support like medical or real estate professionals, or specialty tax needs like generational wealth or expatriate support. Do you also require business accounting or tax services? Identify your needs, and then assess the range of your needs to the firm’s skill set.

Explain your fee structure to me. While not a question, asking about their fees eliminates any financial surprises down the road from anything you might not have known about or understood before hiring your firm. Be prepared to provide prior-year tax return(s) to receive an estimate.

Boutique vs. Large Firm

When it comes to hiring a tax advisor, the size of the team and the number of office locations may sway you in the direction of a boutique-sized firm or one with a national presence. Your desire for a highly customized service experience or being on a first-name basis with every person handling your account indicates the boutique firm experience might be your cup of tea.

The desire to access a greater breadth of knowledge, topic specialists like tax credits, or even technical excellence likely indicates the large firm is the better match for you.

As Goldilocks’ fable experiences, over time your needs change, and the solution that was once the “perfect fit” may no longer be such a match.

At Organized Instincts, our daily money managers help identify situations and instances when calling to stay the course or hiring a new tax professional. Schedule a call today and discuss how we work collaboratively and successfully with your tax experts.

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