As anyone runs their own business knows, a good tax planner is worth their weight in gold. However, tax planners can be equally important to individuals, too. Should you hire a tax planner? Do you know how to choose the right person for your tax planning? Read on to find out more.
But first, what is a tax planner? A tax planner is someone with detailed knowledge of your personal income tax situation. Their purpose is to not only help you minimise your annual income tax in the current year, but help you structure yourself and your finances so that you can reduce tax in the future.
Given that tax planners deal with a lot of substantial financial and personal information, it’s essential to be careful when selecting one to work for you. You want to make sure you hire someone who is not only well-versed with the technicalities but also keeps your information confidential.
Best tips to hire a tax planner
These days, there are platforms available online to hire tax plan advisors and it’s a good place to get started. Keep in mind the below tips and pointers from experts when selecting your tax planner.
#1 – Get referrals
Word of mouth remains one of the best ways to find someone to meet your needs for professional services, and tax planning is no different. One of the first steps you can take is to look for relatives, friends, neighbours, colleagues, or any other people in your community who you can trust for referrals. Rather than simply ask your contacts if they know of any tax planners, seek out information about their experience with any they have worked with.
#2 – Have enough knowledge
Tax planners are responsible for guiding their clients in saving money by making the right financial decisions related to tax-related issues. Therefore, it’s essential that the tax planner has enough knowledge about all of the taxation rules with additional real-world experience to make correct and critical decisions.
#3 – Suite of skills
Tax planners should have strong communication skills, critical thinking, and the ability to solve complex problems. Since you’ll be dealing with your tax planner in-depth, it’s wise to choose someone with good interpersonal skills who you get along with. Your tax planner should be able to understand your financial condition and provide the right kind of service. It’s also important for planners to have the talent to decipher critical legal details.
#4 – Look for consumer complaints
It’s also wise to look online and see if any of the tax planners you are considering have had complaints filed against them. If yes, then check if they were able to solve the customer issue. A history of complaints is obviously a red flag and unless you are completely satisfied with the resolution, you should look elsewhere.
#5 – Talk to potential tax planners
Plan a meeting with the tax planner before hiring them. Understand their area of expertise and try to figure out if the planner has dealt with cases similar to your type before as this will clarify their level of expertise in your situation. It’s also a good idea to confirm if your planner has any plans to move on from their current role, as it’s best to find someone who can fulfil the tax filing requirements and help solve tax-related issues into the future.
#6 – Consult with them regarding the bill
Even though the planner might not give you the exact amount it will cost to make your tax return, they should at least tell you the basis of their fee structure. Some tax planners charge the payment on an hourly basis, while others charge a flat rate. Make sure to get an estimate before they start working. It is better to walk away if the tax planner doesn’t agree to provide details about their fee structure or the way they charge.
#7 – Ask them about their way of working
At times, it is not the tax planner themselves who prepares your return. Instead, they hire someone else to do so. Some have their internal staff, while others outsource them. In such a case, you should consult with the planner if he or she will consider reviewing it and sign it. Consult about how quickly they can return calls or messages related to the case and the time needed to finish the return.
#8 – Verify information security processes
A client’s safety and security should be a tax planner’s topmost responsibility. It is critical to ensure that the client’s financial information should be protected. Therefore, ask questions like “how many people will see my personal data?” and “how does your company safeguard against cyber network breaches?”
#9 – Don’t ignore the red flags
You might come across some red flags and these shouldn’t ignored while hiring a tax planner. Don’t go for a planner who assures a positive result without understanding your previous year’s return. Also, walk away from planners who talk about making deductions which might feel wrong for you. And most importantly, walk away from those who ask you to sign a blank return!
#10 – Don’t hesitate to ask questions
Your tax planner should make you feel comfortable in asking any type of question. So, if you have queries about any tax-related topic, feel free to ask your planner. When it’s your financial future at stake, don’t work with someone who makes you feel awkward about clearing your doubts.