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Old 06-21-2019, 01:15 PM
 
19 posts, read 17,500 times
Reputation: 25

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Greetings,

Just moved to Tucson a few months ago and am looking for a recommendation for a tax guy for a small-time client like myself. I would prefer dealing with an individual tax preparer like the last person I had in California. He wasn't always trying up-sell me on a product or gouge me like Liberty Tax or H&R Block does.

thanks!
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Old 06-21-2019, 02:12 PM
 
2,410 posts, read 5,281,682 times
Reputation: 1901
Quote:
Originally Posted by hairfarm View Post
Greetings,

Just moved to Tucson a few months ago and am looking for a recommendation for a tax guy for a small-time client like myself. I would prefer dealing with an individual tax preparer like the last person I had in California. He wasn't always trying up-sell me on a product or gouge me like Liberty Tax or H&R Block does.

thanks!
I don't currently live in Tucson (I'm in SE MI), but am considering a move to the Tucson area later this summer, so I was on this forum. I wanted to jump in here since I have read that small-time CPAs may not have great security software, so that's a consideration. Hackers target vulnerable companies, and even small ones can yield a lot of info like SS#, dates of birth, and other personal stuff you don't want hacked and sold on the dark web. Fraudulent tax returns are a huge issue, as you probably know, and while I don't know about AZ specifically in that regard, FL is ground zero for tax fraud, but no state is immune.

At any rate, I would definitely ask about any CPA's security software before using their services as a newcomer to an area. Just a thought.

It doesn't sound like you're interested in using Turbo Tax, though that has it's own issues as well, and a couple years ago, I think they had a security breach during tax season. I agree that Liberty and H&R Block are both not good news. They are more cookie cutter kinds of places for straight w-2 income on a 1040. And yes, they thrive on the "up-sell."
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Old 06-21-2019, 07:30 PM
 
19 posts, read 17,500 times
Reputation: 25
Quote:
At any rate, I would definitely ask about any CPA's security software before using their services as a newcomer to an area. Just a thought.
Thanks! Good advice.
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Old 06-21-2019, 07:36 PM
 
239 posts, read 188,290 times
Reputation: 865
I would suggest you google "choosing a tax return preparer". You will find numerous articles to help you decide. Towards year end try to interview several preparers. Not just to determine who is competent, but who you feel comfortable working with. Don't wait until after the first of the year, many will not have the time or inclination to do so. Bring a copy of the prior year's return to get an idea as to fees involved. Definitely avoid the chains, as they are more like production lines. I would suggest you choose a CPA or Enrolled Agent.

Disclaimer: I am an Enrolled Agent and have worked for public accounting firms in the past, but do not reside in Arizona.

Last edited by rbwpi; 06-21-2019 at 07:51 PM..
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Old 06-23-2019, 07:18 AM
 
148 posts, read 267,635 times
Reputation: 157
Im a a 36 year CPA and former IRS revenue agent in the LBI division. Here is a little heuristic to use in choosing a professional:

1. Select from these three regulated designations: Tax Attorney, Certified Public Accountant, and Enrolled Agent.
2. Avoid the tax mills, like Jackson Hewett, H & R Block. Over the years I can attest to the low quality tax work they do.
3. Make sure the person you select carries errors and omissions insurance. When a single member tax preparerer finishes your return, he is the only one who has reviewed the return, together with his diagnostic tax software.
4. Ask where they went to school and where they were certified? (This is not that important but can be a final deciding point)
5. Visit the state board regulating the individual and make sure they are in good standing (i.e. the state board of accountancy).
6. Get a quote. The fees can fluctuate wildly. I built a business of under pricing bigger firms as a sole practitioner and my prices are 50 % less than a bigger firm. (Note, I am not taking on any new clients at this time).
7. Go to yelp and read the reviews.
8, Make sure the person you hire has specialized knowledge for your tax situation. In other words, if you are an LLC, you want someone with LLC experience.
9. Talk to the person and get a feel for how abrupt they are on the telephone.
10. Make sure you ask if you may ask your professional tax questions during the year without getting a bill for ordinary matters.


Thats about it. If I think of any more I will let you know.
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Old 06-23-2019, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Southern Arizona
9,526 posts, read 28,979,293 times
Reputation: 11432
Prior to relocating to Tucson about 20 years ago, I had a great "individual type" Tax Man for many years and could not have been happier.

Once I relocated and a great deal of research, reading about security issues plus a few casual interviews I opted for Turbo Tax. Very possibly not the most professional nor the highest refund but after all these years . . . No IRS Audits, No Security Breaches and, most of all, No Jail Time.

By the way . . . I have heard many "war stories" about, as Oomph puts it, the Tax Mills and it's just Not Worth The Risk.
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Old 06-27-2019, 08:58 PM
 
19 posts, read 17,500 times
Reputation: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by oomph View Post
Im a a 36 year CPA and former IRS revenue agent in the LBI division. Here is a little heuristic to use in choosing a professional:

1. Select from these three regulated designations: Tax Attorney, Certified Public Accountant, and Enrolled Agent.
2. Avoid the tax mills, like Jackson Hewett, H & R Block. Over the years I can attest to the low quality tax work they do.
3. Make sure the person you select carries errors and omissions insurance. When a single member tax preparerer finishes your return, he is the only one who has reviewed the return, together with his diagnostic tax software.
4. Ask where they went to school and where they were certified? (This is not that important but can be a final deciding point)
5. Visit the state board regulating the individual and make sure they are in good standing (i.e. the state board of accountancy).
6. Get a quote. The fees can fluctuate wildly. I built a business of under pricing bigger firms as a sole practitioner and my prices are 50 % less than a bigger firm. (Note, I am not taking on any new clients at this time).
7. Go to yelp and read the reviews.
8, Make sure the person you hire has specialized knowledge for your tax situation. In other words, if you are an LLC, you want someone with LLC experience.
9. Talk to the person and get a feel for how abrupt they are on the telephone.
10. Make sure you ask if you may ask your professional tax questions during the year without getting a bill for ordinary matters.


Thats about it. If I think of any more I will let you know.

Thanks for the advice. This is great. Copied and pasted!
I have a unique tax situation as a remote employee who has worked in multiple states.
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Old 06-29-2019, 01:04 PM
 
273 posts, read 182,945 times
Reputation: 422
Have you discussed your move to AZ with your current tax preparer in CA to see if having a remote client works for them? I work as an EA for two companies during tax season and both tax software products, Lacerte and Drake, use a secure web portal that can be used to exchange information with clients over an encrypted transmission. An example of a form that is passed back and forth using the portal would be an e-file signature authorization.
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Old 07-03-2019, 11:24 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
4,455 posts, read 9,621,784 times
Reputation: 4198
One quick, easy test to find out about their security measures. Ask them what file sharing service they use to send/receive digital client documents. If they give you the deer in the headlights look, they aren't using anything. The answer you want is "we use a secure portal", or "we use Sharefile (or similar product)", which you can then google from home to verify it's security and hack history.
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Old 07-03-2019, 11:27 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
4,455 posts, read 9,621,784 times
Reputation: 4198
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgustav View Post
Have you discussed your move to AZ with your current tax preparer in CA to see if having a remote client works for them? I work as an EA for two companies during tax season and both tax software products, Lacerte and Drake, use a secure web portal that can be used to exchange information with clients over an encrypted transmission. An example of a form that is passed back and forth using the portal would be an e-file signature authorization.
Good suggestion! I'm in PHX and my main contracted firm is in ABQ. We have clients from all the surrounding states. OP's CPA may very well have clients already in AZ. It can't hurt to ask.
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