How Do You Find the Appropriate Tax Professional to Help You?

Plenty of first-time landlords do not have professional advice and rely instead on software programs for bookkeeping and tax preparation. However, hiring a professional can make your life easier, and potentially help you save money in the long-run. Below are the occupations most likely to help you. Notice that the list does not include so-called "tax preparers" of the sort you will see in storefront offices during tax time. In most states, no licensing is required to be a tax preparer, so we do not advise taking your chances on them.

Professionals you might consult include:

  • Enrolled agents (EAs). With at least five years of experience and licensing from the IRS, these are a reliable choice for tax advice and tax return preparation.

  • Certified public accountants (CPAs). These provide sophisticated accounting and tax work, and are licensed and regulated in each state.

  • Licensed public accountants. These are also reliable, though not as highly regarded as CPAs.

  • Tax attorneys. If you get into serious trouble with the IRS or another tax agency, an attorney can provide legal representation. But for most tax advice, consulting a CPA will be more lucrative.

Here are some tips for choosing a qualified professional:

  • Get recommendations. Ask friends, business associates, or your local landlord association.

  • Look for experience in assisting landlords. You’re dealing with unique issues and tax considerations, so it helps to have an accountant or tax pro who’s familiar with them.

  • Interview two or three prospects. Choose the one who is not only reasonably priced, but also seems knowledgeable and easy to communicate with.