Jun 10

Key Qualities of a Suitable Tax Advisor

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Searching for a qualified tax advisor can be an onerous task. The number of options grow significantly during tax season as independent preparers and planners set up to take advantage of the demand. How do you separate those who claim to be qualified from the professional tax advisors?

Knowing which questions to ask is critical in finding the best tax advisor for you. Unsure of where to begin? Listed below are six qualities to keep in mind when searching for tax advisor.

Industry Experts

Each industry involves different tax regulations and opportunities for deductions. Given the complex and always-changing tax climates, why should you settle for a general tax advisor? Whether you are a doctor, restaurant entrepreneur, or own a small business, there is a trained tax advisor suited for your specific needs.

Up-to-date on tax laws & trends

Canadian tax laws are constantly changing, so it is vital to work with a tax advisor who is knowledgeable of the current regulations. A good firm will have its team undergo training and professional development throughout the year to stay up-to-date on the shifting tax landscape.

A quality tax professional will also take into account emerging business trends and their implications for your taxes. Perhaps your dental office offered a Groupon deal for new patients this year? Your tax advisor should know how to prepare these types of transactions.

Qualified & Experienced Tax Advisor

Plenty of financial planners claim to be qualified to prepare your taxes, but do they have the proper training and experience to back up their credentials? When searching for a tax advisor, don’t be afraid to ask questions: How many years of tax experience do they have? What areas and industries do they specialize in?

Accessible

Finding a qualified advisor is important, but so is one who will answer your phone call when you have a question. When you look for a tax professional, try to get a sense of how highly they value your business. No matter how large your return or small your business, your advisor should make you feel like the important client you are.

Transparent

Filing taxes is a complex process. If your advisor fails to take the time to explain the steps, important details can be lost in the ambiguity. It is a good idea to ask your advisor the following questions, making sure you understand and are comfortable with their answers:

  • “How are your fees determined?” This means how much they charge, by which method they charge (hourly or by commission), and which services are included in the fees and which come at an extra cost.
  • “When will I receive a copy of my return?” If they can’t give you an estimated time frame, continue your search.
  • “Can you explain your privacy policy?” A legitimate tax advisor should be able to explain how your privacy is protected. If they hesitate at this question, consider this a “red flag.”

Already looking ahead to next year

A quality tax advisor not only prepares your current tax return, but helps you strategize your accounts for the years to come. Look for an advisor who understands your goals and is genuinely interested in your continued success.