Having a small-business tax advisor can help your business save money on taxes by working with you year-round. This is a certified professional who prepares and files business tax returns, provides financial and tax advice, and represents businesses when they are audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Certified tax advisors also perform record-keeping duties and help with tax planning to maximize your business’s returns. The tax advisor you choose should be experienced, qualified, and have specific knowledge about business taxes. Here is some information from TMD Accounting about how to find the right tax advisor for your small business.
What Are Tax Advisors for Small Businesses?
The IRS allows anyone to serve as a small-business tax consultant as long as they get a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) from the agency. However, you should look for a professional firm that offers both small business account services and business tax advice. The professional you choose should also be certified as a tax advisor by the IRS. Certified tax advisors have additional education, skill, and expertise requirements and can also represent you in case of an audit.
Enrolled agents are licensed tax professionals who must pass a specialized exam showing their tax proficiency and/or have worked for the IRS for at least five years.
Certified public accountants (CPAs) must pass the CPA exam and follow the requirements for CPAs. They are accounting professionals offering multiple services, including tax advice, preparation, and filing.
Finally, attorneys must pass the bar exam to obtain a license to practice law in their state. While all lawyers are included in this category, a business owner should look for an attorney who focuses on tax law and business taxes.
If you are searching for a tax advisor for your business, you should choose someone who falls into one of the three categories listed above. Make sure the professional you choose has experience with business taxes instead of personal taxes. Finding a certified tax advisor who is also familiar with your industry and with small businesses is even better.
How a Tax Advisor Can Benefit Your Small Business
A good business tax advisor can help your business in numerous ways throughout the year instead of just at tax time. Your tax advisor should provide you with all of the following benefits:
• Providing important information and advice to aid you in tax decisions
• Setting up a record-keeping system tailored to your business and its needs
• Preparing business tax forms and helping your business claim all of the deductions to which it should be entitled and highlighting red flags that could get your business in trouble with the IRS
• Providing advice and guidance when you are dealing with the IRS
• Representing you before the IRS during audits and investigations
Finding a Tax Advisor for Your Small Business
The first place to start is to ask your business’s accountant or bookkeeper for referrals and recommendations. If you are already working with a CPA for small business accounting services, they might also have the necessary experience to provide you with business tax advising services. You can also ask other business owners that you know and trust for their recommendations for business tax advisors in your area.
You can also ask your friends, banker, family, or attorney for recommendations and referrals to qualified business tax advisors in your area. Get several names. Look for listings in newspapers, directories, trade journals, referral panels, and professional associations. Look for CPA societies in your area or check online at www.cpadirectory.com for a CPA. If you want to find an enrolled agent, you can ask for help from the National Association of Enrolled Agents at www.naea.org. However, if you check an organization, you should consider referrals as the organization’s certification that it recommends the CPAs or EAs or that the names provided to you are competent professionals.
Once you have a small list of names, interview a minimum of three firms or individuals. Treat the consultation like an interview. You want to both test the prospective advisor’s knowledge and ensure that they are a good fit for your company. Ask them about their experience, certification, and their knowledge of your industry and of working with small businesses. Ask about the types of tax issues small businesses might face and how they address them. Ask if the prospective advisor represents clients during audits before the IRS.
Ask the tax advisor about any success stories they can share and the types of strategies they employ when dealing with tax problems. You want to make sure the advisor you choose doesn’t use overly aggressive strategies that could potentially get your business in trouble.
Once you have completed your consultations, don’t rush to make a decision. Consider which prospective advisor made you feel confident in their knowledge and ability to help your business with its taxes. Make sure you choose an advisor with whom you feel comfortable since you will have an ongoing professional relationship. Finally, search for a tax advisor in the fall or summer instead of trying to find someone during tax season.
Find an Accountant for My Small Business
If you are searching for a full-service accounting firm to handle all of your business’s accounting and tax needs, you should consider TMD accounting. We provide a full range of accounting services for small businesses, including tax advice and preparation. Call us today for a consultation at 1-856-228-2205.