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Frequently asked questions

Answers to common questions about working with a certified public accountant (CPA)

Why should I hire a CPA over another tax preparer?

Among tax preparers, certified public accountants (CPAs) meet the most stringent education and regulatory requirements. Additionally, CPA services go well beyond taxes and accounting, meaning they are working for you year-round. See the CPA difference.

What should I ask a CPA at an introductory meeting?

Before you commit to hiring a CPA, check out this list of questions that will help you determine if the CPA you meet is the right fit for you and your needs.

When should I meet with a CPA?

CPAs are available to meet with you year-round. If you're seeking tax planning and preparation services, it's recommended you meet with a CPA prior to year-end to optimize your tax strategy. Then, throughout the year, update your CPA on any major life changes (marriage, divorce, birth of a child or retirement) to adjust your financial goals as needed. For business owners, consult your CPA before making any major purchases. CPAs can guide you through these events and how they impact your tax return.

What should I bring to an introductory meeting?

Be prepared to discuss your financial goals and objectives. Bring a copy of your previous year’s tax return. A CPA will walk through the return with you, ask you questions about your tax needs and may provide a quote based on this information.

How much do CPA services cost?

It depends on your needs. For example, individual tax returns may cost less than the tax planning and preparation needs of a small business. Discuss how CPAs determine their rates at your introductory meeting.

When can I give my tax records to a CPA?

It's your preference, but most CPAs are able to take documents and receipts pertaining to your tax return at any time during the year.