What kind of tax preparer should I hire?

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Q. I’ve always done my own taxes. It’s getting more complicated, though. What kind of tax preparer should I hire?
— Taxpayer

A. When it comes to filing tax returns, accuracy is a very important consideration as no one wants to receive an audit notice from the IRS.

Choosing the right kind of tax preparer will depend on your situation.

With a straightforward return, the software tools that are available online will walk you through each piece of information that needs to be entered.

The IRS also offers a free tax preparation service called VITA, which stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.

You can find one at www.irs.gov, and then typing “VITA” in the search box. Locations in New Jersey can also be found at www.nj211.org.

But if your tax return is getting, as you said, more complicated, you may want a professional’s help.

A CPA is a certified public accountant.

To become a CPA you must have the required education of 150 hours and pass a four-part examination.

An enrolled agent is a person who has passed an IRS examination to establish a minimum level of proficiency in the tax area.

There are also tax attorneys. These have passed the bar examination and are often involved with planning, such as business reorganizations, wills and trusts.

Tax attorneys can also offer attorney-client privilege, something that CPAs and enrolled agents can’t do.

Which kind of tax professional is best for you depends on your needs as a client. Consider interviewing several to see who offers the kinds of services you need.

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This story was originally published on Aug. 2, 2023.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.