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Be picky when choosing a tax professional

Real Estate Tax Talk

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If you're like most people, you're planning to hire a tax professional to prepare your tax return instead of doing it yourself. There are several different types of tax pros. They differ widely in training, experience and cost.  Tax preparersAs the name implies, tax preparers prepare tax returns. The largest tax preparation firm is H&R Block, but during tax time many mom-and-pop operations open for business in storefront offices. In most states, anybody can be a tax preparer -- no licensing is required. However, starting in 2011, registered preparers were required to take continuing education courses and pass a competency exam. Nevertheless, many tax preparers don't have the training or experience to handle taxes for businesses and, therefore, are probably not a wise choice.Enrolled agentsEnrolled agents (EAs) are tax advisers and preparers who are licensed by the IRS. They must have at least five years of experience or pass a difficult IRS test. They can represent taxpayers befo...