Choosing the Right Tax Preparer in Spokane: What You Need to Know

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Finding the right tax preparer in Spokane can be a daunting task, but it’s essential for ensuring that your taxes are filed correctly and efficiently. The right tax preparer not only ensures compliance with the complex and ever-changing tax laws but can also help maximize your refunds or minimize your tax liabilities. This guide will help you understand what to look for, important considerations, and how to choose the best tax preparer for your specific needs in Spokane.

Understanding Different Types of Tax Preparers

Before embarking on your search for a tax preparer, it’s vital to understand the different types of professionals out there and what each can offer:

  • CPAs (Certified Public Accountants): CPAs are licensed by the state and are well-versed in accounting and tax preparation. They are a great choice for complex tax situations and can represent you in front of the IRS if needed.
  • Enrolled Agents (EA): EAs are certified by the federal government and specialize exclusively in taxation. They can also represent taxpayers before the IRS.
  • Tax Attorneys: Specializing in tax law, these professionals are crucial if legal issues arise, such as tax fraud or litigation.
  • Registered Tax Return Preparers (RTRP): RTRPs have passed an IRS test and have a basic understanding of tax preparation principles.

Qualifications to Look For

When choosing a tax preparer, it’s important to check their qualifications. Ensure that your tax preparer is adequately credentialed:

  • Verify the CPA’s license or the EA’s enrollment status through respective state or federal systems.
  • Check if the tax preparer is a member of professional organizations such as the National Association of Tax Professionals or the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. These memberships often require ethical standards and continuous education.
  • Ask about their experience specifically with Spokane tax regulations, as state and local tax codes vary.

Factors to Consider

Beyond qualifications, other factors should influence your choice of a tax preparer:

  • Specialization: Some tax preparers specialize in certain areas, such as small business taxes, expatriate taxes, or non-profit taxes. Choose one who has experience dealing with tax situations similar to yours.
  • Reputation: Look for online reviews, ask friends or family for recommendations, and check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the preparer or firm.
  • Accessibility: Your tax preparer should be easy to contact and available to answer your questions throughout the year, not just during tax season.
  • Cost: Understand how the tax preparer charges for services. Is it a flat fee, or do they charge based on the complexity of your tax returns? Compare fees among different preparers to ensure you are getting a fair rate.

Questions to Ask Potential Tax Preparers

When you meet a potential tax preparer, it’s important to ask the right questions:

  • What kind of clients do you typically work with?
  • How do you keep up with the latest tax laws and changes?
  • Can you provide references from clients who have used your services?
  • What is your procedure in case of an audit?
  • How do you secure client data?


Choosing the right tax preparer in Spokane requires due diligence and careful consideration of your specific needs. By understanding the different types of tax preparers, evaluating their qualifications, considering additional factors like specialization and reputation, and asking the right questions, you can feel confident in your decision. Remember, the goal is to find a professional who will not only ensure tax compliance but also proactively work towards optimizing your tax situation.

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