20 Questions You Didn’t Know to Ask a Tax Preparer – But Totally Should!

Jun 24, 2024 | Business Basics, Taxes

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Hey there, six-figure coaches and consultants! We know you adore working for yourself, but tax season can be a real headache, right?

Sometimes, all those forms, new tax laws, and filing fuss takes all the fun out of being your own boss. No wonder so many people turn to tax professionals! In fact, the demand for tax preparation services has been increasing about 3.2% every year since 2018.

But here’s the thing—to truly make the most of their expertise, you need to ask your tax preparer the right questions.

So, let’s dive into the ultimate list of questions to ask to make sure you’re hiring the right tax pro and getting the best bang for your buck.

Why’s It So Important to Ask a Tax Preparer Questions?

Well, simply put, not asking the right questions before you hire a tax preparer can land you in a hot mess of financial trouble. Especially if you hire the wrong tax pro. Plus, being inquisitive can help you take full advantage of tax benefits, ultimately saving money (yay)!

So, without further ado, here are the 20 questions you didn’t know to ask your tax preparer, but totally should!

Questions About the Process

1. What Does Your Tax Preparation Process Look Like?

You’re busy running your business and living your life. The last thing you need is a tax preparer who doesn’t slot into your style.

Do you prefer face-to-face meetings, phone calls, or emails? Make sure your tax preparer’s process aligns with your schedule and communication style so everything runs smoothly.

2. Will You Be Available Year-Round?

You don’t want a tax preparer who ghosts you after April 15th!
Confirm that your preparer will be there to help out with any issues that come up after tax season. Knowing they’ve got your back all year long can really put your mind at ease.

3. Will You Be Signing the Tax Return as a Preparer?

This one’s about accountability.

Your tax preparer should sign your return and provide their PTIN. If someone asks you to sign as self-prepared, that’s a major red flag. They need to stand behind their work.

4. What Records & Documentation Will You Need from Me?

Being organized is half the battle, right?

Ask your tax preparer about the specific records they need from you, like income statements, significant medical expenses, and proof of business expenses. This will streamline the process and reduce the risk of errors.

Questions About Tax Prep Fees & Services

5. How Do You Determine Your Fees & How Much Will It Cost?

Nobody likes getting whacked with a surprise bill!

Some tax preparers charge fees for late document submissions and the like, so make sure you know what to expect. Ask your preparer how they calculate costs and if there are any additional charges for extra services.

6. What Other Services Do You Offer?

Your tax preparer likely does more than basic tax prep.

From tax advice and bookkeeping to payroll administration and financial planning, knowing the full range of services they offer can help you leverage their expertise to the max.

For example, Tax Savvy Jessica offers a tax prep-only service but also tax strategy packages that include consulting, tax savings plans, and so much more!

Questions About Credentials & Experience

7. Do You Have a Professional License, Credential, or Training?

Credentials matter.

Ask about your tax preparer’s qualifications—whether they’re a CPA, EA, or tax attorney—and verify their current status. This way, you’re working with a knowledgeable and reliable professional.

8. How Long Have You Been Preparing Tax Returns?

Experience speaks volumes.

Knowing your preparer’s experience level can build your confidence in their ability to handle various tax scenarios and stay updated with tax law changes.

9. How Do You Stay Updated on New Tax Laws?

Tax regulations change more often than you think.

Make sure your tax preparer stays on top of things with continuing education and professional development. This keeps your tax strategy sharp and compliant.

10. Do You Have a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number)?

Your tax preparer should have a valid PTIN, which is required by the IRS. You can even verify it through the IRS online directory to make sure you’re in good hands.

11. Can You Provide References?

Reliable references can really boost your confidence in your tax preparer.

Ask for references from trusted sources to verify their reputation and experience. It’s always good to hear from satisfied clients.

Like what you’re learning so far? Get more tax season tips in our previous blog, “I Owe Taxes. Now What?”

Filing Questions to Ask Your Tax Preparer

12. Will I Receive My Refund Directly?

Let’s cut out the middlemen.

Your refund should go straight to you. Direct deposit is the fastest and safest way to get your money, so double-check that this is the plan.

13. Can I File Electronically?

E-filing is faster and more accurate.

It’s a great way to reduce errors and speed up your refund, too. Make sure your preparer can file your return electronically and clarify any associated costs.

14. When Will I Receive a Copy of My Return?

You’ll need a complete copy of your tax returns for your records.

Ask your preparer for a clear timeline on when you’ll receive it. Having everything in order ahead of time helps avoid any last-minute scrambles.

15. What Happens If There Are Mistakes on My Return?

Mistakes happen. It’s how they’re fixed that matters.

Quick resolutions can save a lot of hassle. Ask your preparer about their process for correcting errors and if there are any additional fees involved.

Questions About Tax Strategy & Improvement

16. How Can You Help Me with My Tax Goals?

Your hard work deserves to pay off.

Tell your tax pro about your goals—whether it’s avoiding IRS headaches or deciding between standard deductions and itemizing. Ask them how they can help you hit the sweet spot of a balanced tax return—no big refunds or surprise bills.

17. How Will My Business Expenses Be Deducted?

Itemized deductions can make a big difference in your tax bill.

Chat with your preparer about potential business deductions—like business use of a car, travel, and home office expenses. Maximizing these can really help your bottom line.

18. How Can I Improve My Tax Situation?

You’re working hard for your dreams, so don’t let taxes drain your momentum.

A good tax preparer will help you adjust your withholdings and give you tips on investments, home transactions, and business structuring to keep you financially fit.

Other Questions to Ask a Tax Preparer

19. Are You Familiar with the Requirements of the States and Localities Where I Need to File?

State and local tax requirements on certain things—like investment income and tax liability—can be tricky.

Make sure your tax professional knows the ins and outs of the states and localities where you need to file, especially if you’ve moved or own property in different areas.

20. What Deductions and Credits Are Available for My Industry?

Every industry has its own perks, and yours is no different.

As a coach or consultant, you might have specific expenses that qualify for deductions. Ask your tax preparer to identify all the industry-specific deductions and credits you can claim. This way, you’re not leaving any money on the table and maximizing your savings.

Ready for Stress-Free Tax Prep? We’ve Got You!

There you have it folks! All the burning questions we recommend asking tax preparers for a better tax season. Got questions for us? Feeling overwhelmed by taxes? Let Tax Savvy Jessica take the wheel!

With over 15 years of experience, Jessica is here to help you navigate the complex world of taxes with ease. From personalized tax planning strategies to year-round support, we’ve got you covered. Feel like you’re ready to trade all that tax stress for financial peace of mind? Let’s go!

Take the Fit + Pricing Quiz to learn more about our tax prep and strategy services and see how we can help you achieve your financial goals. Let’s make this your best tax season yet!

Hi, I’m Jessica.

I’m the passionate tax-pert behind Tax Savvy Jessica. I spent more than 10 years performing audits for the IRS. My experience there taught me how to understand taxes from the perspectives of both taxpayers and the IRS.

I started Tax Savvy Jessica because I’m passionate about helping small business owners understand their taxes so they can use their money to build the life they want.

Free up more money to build the life you really want.

Take our Fit & Pricing Quiz to find the package that fits your needs.

Get the Guide: Tax Deductions for Coaches + Consultants

Whether you’re new to entrepreneurship or you’ve owned your own business for years, see what you can write off as a freelance coach or consultant.

Interested in working with Tax Savvy Jessica? 

Take our Fit & Pricing Quiz to find the package that fits your needs.