Many people find filing their tax assessment and tax returns extremely confusing and time consuming. The alternative is to hire an experienced tax accountant to take the load of you. Most accountants will charge around $300 for their service while ones online will charge anywhere from $100 to $200. That being said what is the best way to find a trust worthy and experienced accountant?
Start with Google
If you do a quick Google search you’re bound to find numerous services who will state that they offer the lowest price in town. The important thing you need to remember that in many countries including the UK and Australia almost anyone can call themselves an accountant even if they are not qualified. So, the one thing you’ll have to do is to check the company’s status. Find out how many of their staff members are Chartered certified or Certified ACCA professionals. You shouldn’t just take the company’s word for terms like “Tax Expert” or “Experienced Tax Guru” at face value.
On average you can expect to pay around $200 as accountant’s fees for things like preparing your tax returns and assessment forms. However, many people may not know this but they can actually claim the accountant’s own fees when they file the tax return as a deduction.
Have simple needs
Now, many small business owners do not need fifteen sheets of tax accounting jargon filled, they may just need just some help with their returns. If you are fine with using email as opposed to regular post and seeing the tax accountant in person then a number of online services are more affordable. The only problem with online accountants is that you’re never sure how professional or good they are, all you can be sure of is that they charge less.
Online accountants charge an average of $100 for self-assessment services that usually work best for freelancers and self-employed individuals. However, a number of critics label these cheap online services as nothing more than cookie factories. This means that all the accountant will do is to input all the data you have provide into the form, something that you can do yourself. But because they are cheap most people will opt to give them a shot.
They rarely give advice
The biggest advantage of perhaps paying $100 more to a tax accountant whom you can see and touch is that they will give you advice. You can also be sure that they will do the job in time and there is a physical location that you can visit to protest if you are unhappy.
Online accountants are mostly based overseas, many in cheaper countries where labor and manpower is cheaper in addition to a lower cost of living. They can afford to charge $100 or even $50 to fill out your returns but because they do not reside in your country they may not be familiar with your country’s specific tax laws, updated laws and stipulations. So, they are not able to provide you with the advice you may need for things like deductions, claiming tax breaks, return tips etc.
Before you decide to plant your headache on a so called professional tax accountant make sure to do a bit more research to find out what others have to say about them. Search websites like ScamReport and the Better Business Bureau, both of which have a database of websites with complaints received for each one. They also rate websites based on the feedback they have received from people who have used the service. This should give you some insight into what you can expect when you do business with a particular company.
Save yourself from scams
There are both online and offline scammers who take advantage of unsuspecting people. When hiring a tax accountant offline make sure that they have been around for a long time. Check the company’s registration and look at how many people they have employed. Only do business with them if they look established.
With online companies once you have checked reviews always pay via your credit card. That way if they never get back to you with completed assessment forms or returns you can file for a charge back and report the company to the BBB.
Amit Singh is a founder of Theinternationalfinance.com he share his immense knowledge of Finance in this blog.