Accounting can seem like a minefield full of complicated lingo and confusing rules, especially if you are busy with your job and family or running a business. #AskDave is here to answer your pressing accounting and tax questions — and hopefully make the whole endeavor seem less complicated.

Dave Wendell, of Elite Accounting, built a full-service accounting firm while managing another business and earning a bachelor's in accounting from DeVry University and an MBA from Keller Graduate school of management. Based in downtown Twin Falls, he's committed to helping his clients reach their personal and professional goals.

In this installment of #AskDave, he tackles a question multiple people have: Why should I hire a professional to help with my taxes? What are the benefits of an enrolled agent vs a CPA vs a neighbor?

Hiring a professional to help with your taxes is the most beneficial way to go. All professionals must adhere to strict guidelines while doing taxes and are bound by the IRS code of ethics and circular 230. Circular 230 contains rules governing the recognition of attorneys, certified public accountants, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents, registered tax return preparers, and other persons representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service. Tax professionals must also adhere to strict continuing education requirements to keep up to date with the ever-changing tax laws. 

CPAs are extremely talented and well-rounded individuals in their industry. They have an extensive knowledge base and can assist individuals from tax preparation to financial planning. They can prepare reviewed financials and represent you before the IRS. CPAs must be licensed in each state in which they perform duties as a CPA.

Enrolled agents are federally licensed by the IRS to prepare tax returns, provide advice to taxpayers and represent taxpayers before the IRS. Like CPAs, they must adhere to strict education requirements. Enrolled agents can prepare tax returns across the country and are not bound by registering in each state. 

Your neighbor is not licensed to prepare tax returns unless they are a CPA or enrolled agent. Most individuals that prepare returns for family and friends on the side are doing this illegally and if your tax return is audited or done incorrectly, you, the taxpayer, could be left holding the bag and liable for any wrongdoing on your taxes. 

Make sure to speak to your tax professional, ask to see some credentials and make sure they have a PTIN.  This number is required for all registered tax preparers. When in doubt look on the internet and search for enrolled agents or CPAs in your area.

Dave has owned and operated Elite Accounting since 2008, adding the payroll service in 2011 and tax services in 2011. He's also an IRS Enrolled Agent, so he can help businesses and individuals with more serious tax matters, too. If you'd like to set up a consultation to learn how he can help you or your business, simply call 208-825-1641 or fill out this form.

In addition, Dave loves answering questions! Click here to submit to #AskDave and he just might answer your question in a future article.

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