Tax Preparation for Individuals & Businesses

Why a CPA is a Good Choice

Certified Public Accountants undergo extensive training and testing. They are licensed by their states after passing the Uniform CPA Examination and must meet and maintain ethical and continuing education requirements.

If you are wondering if a chain store tax preparer or a CPA is a better choice for your needs, consider the following:

  Licensed experienced CPA professional Unlicensed tax preparer/advisor
Are you registered with the State? Yes, Are licensed and must comply with state and federal ethics and regulations Maybe Yes, Maybe No. Most are not licensed or registered with the state and are not required to undergo any type of professional testing.
Is there a requirement to attend continuing professional education? Yes, CPAs are required to attend continuing professional education in all areas in which they practice, including tax. No
Is there any attention and time given to your tax issues? Yes, We interview and work with clients to understand and identify tax deductions that pertain to their situation. No. The big box chain preparers will generally complete tax returns in as short a period of time as possible.
Is help available throughout the year? Yes, A professional CPA tax preparer works throughout the year with clients, developing strategies and providing assistance to minimize your tax burden. No, Most are seasonal workers setting up shop only during tax season.
Are fees based on a percentage of your refund? No, CPAs are not permitted to charge based on refund. It is considered unethical and a conflict of interest. Possibly. This is an incentive for the preparer to ensure the largest refund possible. You are still responsible for paying back any erroneously computed refund plus penalties and interest. Be careful.
Is there help beyond the 1040? Yes. CPAs can help with a multitude of tax filings and issues, including business, rental, and investment reporting (Sch. C, Sch. E, K-1s, etc. Possibly, Most will prefer to process you as quickly as possible and get you and your return out the door.
Can I be represented in an audit? Yes No
How does pricing compare? Simple tax returns prepared by a CPA are often priced lower than an unlicensed chain preparer because a CPA’s source of revenue is not based solely on tax preparation. Unlicensed preparer’s fees can be higher than those of a licensed professional. You wouldn’t trust your health to a person who doesn’t have a medical degree. It follows that it wouldn’t be wise to trust your financial health and well-being to an unlicensed tax preparer.