Not all accountants are created equal in today's day and age. Here's how simple it is to choose a professional CPA you can actually trust.

Every year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) conducts an average of 300,000 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) audits every year. This isn’t a large figure considering these are chosen from over 25 million returns. 

You may feel safe knowing your chances of getting audited are slim. But you wouldn’t want to find an EITC letter or notice in the mail. One way to avoid this is by hiring a professional CPA.

But how do you find a reputable certified public accountant? Read on to learn how you can find the best CPA in your area.

What Is A Certified Public Accountant?

A certified public accountant is a licensed accounting professional who has the relevant training and experience. A person can only earn the CPA title after passing the CPA exam.

The services provided by a professional accountant include:

  • Litigation 
  • Consulting
  • Financial Planning
  • Taxation
  • Forensic Accounting

However, they mainly provide reviews and audits, with their primary job being the auditing of their clients’ books.

How To Choose A Professional CPA

There are probably many CPAs in your area. But how do you choose a CPA with the experience to ensure your books are in order to prevent an audit by the IRS? Here are some things you should consider:

Ensure They’re Qualified

As mentioned, CPA isn’t just a fancy title. It represents professionals with specific qualifications. Ensure the accounting firm you choose has accounting professionals with credentials that show they can effectively file taxes. Some of these credentials include:

  • IRS’ Annual Filing Season program
  • The Accredited Business Accountant/Advisor program
  • The Accredited Tax Preparer program

Any of these would require that the individual pass an exam and might also include ongoing education to get the necessary credentials.

Get A PTIN

In addition to being adequately qualified, anyone preparing or assisting in the preparation of federal tax returns for compensation must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). It’s a requirement of the IRS along with the inclusion of this number on your return.

If you’re uncertain, companies that provide tax consulting services such as https://silvertaxgroup.com/tax-consulting-services/ can help.

Compare Fees

Once the potential CPAs on your list meet the requirements above, you can then compare fees. Use this as one of the criteria to choose a local CPA.

Some tax preparers charge a flat rate fee that can range from $130 to $140. However, $203 is the average fee to prepare a Form 1040. Bear in mind that fees will vary based on the complexity of your return.

Look out for red flags which including an accountant charging based on the amount of your refund. 

Ensure There Are No Surprises in the Mail By Hiring The Best CPA 

The big ‘A’ is a huge concern for many businesses and even individuals. Regardless of which category you fall under, no one wants to get audited. Even if you know your accounts are in order, you can live without the stress of being audited.

A professional CPA will ensure your books are in order and lessen your chances of the IRS auditing you. They will guide you and give you any accounting advice you need for yourself or your business. For additional tips on ensuring your finances are in order, check out our Money section.