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.