Top Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Tax CPA

Today, about 82% of businesses in the United States fail because of cash flow problems. If you’re wanting to avoid this situation then you might begin looking into hiring a tax CPA. 

Before you hire a CPA, you’ll want to make sure that they’ll be able to help your company succeed. Read on to explore this guide on the top questions to ask before hiring a tax CPA today. 

What Background Is Necessary

While you might be tempted to hire someone who doesn’t have the designation of CPA or EA, you run the risk of an error occurring. This means that they might not have the education and background necessary to provide you with good services. 

When they’re a CPA or EA, they’re more likely to represent you at a State Franchise Tax Board or in front of the IRS. If a mistake occurs and they have the proper licensing, they might be held liable for any penalties. Whereas without this licensing, they might be less likely to feel accountable for their mistakes. 

Keep in mind that you’ll need to find a CPA tax preparer since not all CPAs provide this. Find out what services they do provide before you move forward with them or get your hopes up. 

1. What’s Your Tax Background?

First, when reaching out to companies such as, find out about their background and credentials. There are different designations that they could have such as CPA (Certified Public Accountant). 

Before searching for a tax CPA near me, they’ll be required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Tax preparers that are enrolled to represent taxpayers are known as EA (Enrolled Agent). They can handle all levels of the IRS for collections, audits, and appeals. 

Find out how much experience they have with small businesses including your niche. A CPA tax advisor might not have small business experience which might not be right for you. 

2. What’s Your Availability? 

You might need a CPA tax accountant year-round instead of only once a year. It’s important to find out their availability. 

Keep in mind that it’s a good idea to have a CPA on hand for non-tax issues since taxes are just one part of the financial puzzle.

Make sure that they’re able to answer your questions year-round. Some might be able to help you with payroll, bookkeeping, etc.

3. Do You Have Experience With the IRS? 

CPAs are state-certified and have training in other areas such as bookkeeping and financial planning. If you hire an EA, they’ll be certified by the federal government. 

Many EAs are former IRS agents with experience handling audits. Since they have insider experience, they might be well-equipped to help you when it comes to legalities with the IRS. While that’s important, your best option is to choose the one who has experience relevant to your business.

4. Are You a More Laid-back Accountant?

While some accountants are more aggressive in what they do, others can be more careful, and it’s up to you to decide what’ll fit your business. Some will write off everything, while others are more careful about this. 

Find an accountant who agrees with your line of thinking when it comes to this. For those accountants who are great at finding red flags, they might not maximize your deductions. 

5. How Will I Receive the Bill?

Some accountants might charge you a flat rate, while others will charge you by the hour. For a more hands-on approach, choose an hourly rate. 

No matter how they charge you, be sure to receive an estimate of their fees. Hand them a copy of last year’s tax returns so that they can become familiar with the information before offering you an estimate. 

6. What Happens if I Get Audited?

It’s important to find a CPA tax advisor who will continue to provide you support. Some will only prepare your taxes, and if you’re audited, you’re on your own. 

When you get audited by the IRS, it’s important to have someone who will help you along with the process. Remember that Tax Attorneys, EA’s, and CPAs are the only ones who are allowed to represent you in front of the IRS. 

7. Who Will Be Doing the Work?

Some CPA tax accountants are turning to other countries or areas for outsourced work, instead of performing it themselves. This is up to you whether you’re comfortable with this or not. You might decide that you’ll want to speak with the person who does your taxes themselves. 

8. How Are Your Fees Determined?

Depending on how complicated the returns are, this often will determine the fees associated with them. Whether you need supporting forms, business information, or dividend and interest information, it can overcomplicate the returns. 

Find a preparer who doesn’t base their fee on a percentage of your predicted refund. This means that they have a reward system for themselves based on incorrect deductions and credits. 

10. Can I File Electronically?

There are plenty of tax returns that are filed electronically, you might be able to as well. It could be the quickest way to avoid errors and receive a refund. 

Questions To Ask a Tax CPA Before You Hire Them

After exploring this guide, you should have a better idea of what to ask a tax CPA before you hire them. Take your time speaking with different CPAs and EAs in your area.

Would you like to read more informational content for businesses? Check out our other articles on our site today. From educational guides to complete how-tos, we have you covered. 

Andrew Williams

Andrew Williams