In the digital age, a majority of individuals simply file their taxes through an online service that provides tax software. Others make use of tax preparers that can be found at kiosks located in malls and chain stores. The people that work in retail franchises such as H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt are competent for individuals that are filing a very straight forward tax return.

Individuals often find certified public accountants (CPAs) and enrolled agents (EAs) working at those kiosks. EAs are the elite by IRS standards and are allowed to represent clients before the IRS. For those that choose to utilize the experience and knowledge of a tax accountant, there’s some basic information individuals should ascertain before hiring them.


One of the best ways to find a reliable tax accountant is to seek recommendations and referrals from family, friends and business owners. Don’t be reticent about contacting the firm and asking questions. Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints may have been filed.

The tax accountant should be willing to provide their qualifications and any areas of specialization. Ask if they’ve ever been involved in an audit, how they handled the situation, and the outcome. Tax accountants can’t accept payment without a preparer tax ID number (PTIN). Make sure the tax accountant has one.

Due Diligence

After the initial interview with a tax accountant, individuals can contact the state’s board of accountancy to discover if they’re licensed, in good standing, and if they’ve had any disciplinary actions taken. It can also be helpful to search their name online.

Red Flags

There are some red flags of which every individual should be aware. If a tax accountant promises a large refund before they’ve even looked at a person’s financial situation, look elsewhere. The same is true if they tell a client they can claim an excessive number of deductions.

Shop Around

Every taxpayer and tax accountant won’t be a good fit for each other. Individuals have the right to shop around, change their mind, or even take their return elsewhere if they desire. If necessary, individuals can always ask for an extension on filing their taxes. No one should trust their finances and tax returns to someone without the proper certifications and experience.

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!


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