Tax Preparation & Planning

A tax preparer helps you through the complicated process of completing and filing local, state, and federal taxes. They will make sure your senior pays the correct amount so penalties due to error will not be incurred. Because of their familiarity with each year’s tax code, tax preparers can often find ways to lower the overall tax burden. When your taxes have been prepared and signed, the preparer will take care of mailing them to the IRS and to the appropriate local and state agencies.

Tax preparers are legally obligated to stand by their work. When the same person is used year-over-year, the possibilities are greater of helping you to save money through deductions.

Services

There are four types of professionals who can legally prepare taxes for others people:

  • An IRS enrolled agent is credentialed to prepare taxes. He or she must pass a written exam and a background check, or must be a qualified former IRS employee.
  • A CPA can prepare taxes in any state in which he/she is certified and in good standing.
  • Attorneys can legally file taxes, although most choose not to do tax preparation.

If your senior has any signs of dementia, it is financially reckless to allow an individual filing.

Specialization

Tax attorneys, estate planning attorneys, or certified public accountants (CPAs) may carry the qualifications for Tax Planning.

Preparation

  • Describe all investments currently being held.
  • Gather all necessary financial records.
  • Demonstrate you are the POA (“power of attorney”).
  • Present documents for all rental properties, and/or other types of real estate.
  • Are there IRA or pension distributions or Social Security benefits?
  • Did the senior make any large purchases in the last year? Home improvements, in particular, might qualify for deductions.
  • Would you consider spending more money to get specialized tax advice for future years from an expert? You might want to find an estate planning attorney.

Evaluation

Are you a:

  • CPA, attorney?
  • IRS enrolled agent?
  • former IRS employee?

Describe your qualifications:

  • How many years of experience do you have preparing taxes?
  • Do you offer audit assistance? How extensive will your involvement be if there is an audit?
  • Do you have much experience preparing taxes for seniors? How much of your business is tax preparation for seniors?
  • Are there any deductions for seniors we should be made aware?

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