Finding the Right Tax Accountant as a Home Inspector

Success as a home inspector depends largely on the professionals with whom you surround yourself. While the task of inspecting homes might be a solo duty, the business management side of the industry requires serious collaboration. By finding smart, capable professionals to help you manage your organization, you’ll set your business up to run on autopilot. After all, when things are going smoothly, you’ll have more attention to dedicate to your clients!

Your tax accountant is an important collaborator that you’ll want to find early on in the process of starting your own home inspection business. They can serve as a year-round advisor on all tax questions you have about your income, revenue, and business investments. If you’re hoping to find a tax accountant ahead of the upcoming tax season, keep these considerations in mind:

Qualifications

You know the importance of finding the right person for the job – after all, you wouldn’t hire a residential property inspector when the task calls for a commercial property professional! It’s similarly important to hire the right kind of tax accountant for your business. By understanding the different types of qualifications for tax accountants, you’ll be able to quickly narrow the field and find the right professional for the job.

Enrolled Agents (EA) have passed a three-part exam offered by the IRS. They may have experience working for the IRS, or simply consider themselves students of tax law. Considered the most entry-level of tax professional, Enrolled Agents can help with some of the more standard tax questions and preparation.

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) must undergo a more intense certification process than Enrolled Agents. After passing a challenging exam, these professionals begin working with clients in both the private and public sectors. They specialize in certain aspects of accounting, so if you opt to hire a CPA, make sure you select one with a focus on taxes.

Tax attorneys have law degrees known as a juris doctor (JD). Some go on to pursue their Masters in Law (LLM). Not every tax attorney will prepare taxes for clients, so make sure to do your homework before deciding to hire a tax attorney to represent you.

Fees

If you’ve ever paid a professional to handle your taxes before, you know the service doesn’t come cheap. This is even more true for business tax preparation, which often requires extensive labor on behalf of the tax preparer. Some charge by the hour, while others offer a flat fee for their clients. Before you agree to let a professional tackle your taxes, find out how they plan to structure their fees. Most will provide an estimate so you can factor the cost of their services into your budget.

You may only require tax assistance once a year, but some home inspectors opt to meet with their preparers every few months. Generally speaking, the larger the company, the more tax advice and preparation you’ll require. If you’re a one-man operation, your taxes are likely fairly straightforward. If you oversee multiple employees, though, you may require more time with your tax preparer. Meet with several professionals and get their insight as to how complicated they anticipate your taxes being.

Experience

Ideally, you’ll select a tax preparer who has experience handling issues unique to the home inspection industry. Some tax professionals specialize in assisting clients who work in the real estate world. You may want to seek out the recommendations of fellow home inspectors who rely on tax preparers to handle their affairs.

Of course, not every tax preparer will have the specific industry experience you’d like them to. In fact, if you’re on a budget, a specialist may be too expensive for your taste. While it’s never a good idea to cheap out on tax preparation, you can certainly save money by going to a generalist. Ensure you’re in good hands by meeting with the preparer before handing over your information. Even if they’re not familiar with your world, they may still be worthy of handling your taxes!

Another way to gauge a tax accountant’s abilities is to look over their online reputation. While reviews may not tell the entire story, they can alert you to possible issues. Where there is smoke, there is often fire, so select a tax accountant with a reputation for success. Of course, if a single bad review is the only red flag you spot, you may want to proceed with hiring the person. There’s no single way to vet a tax professional, but keeping an open mind is key!

The Right Professional for the Job

Ultimately, finding the right tax accountant comes down to trust. Just as your clients entrust their properties with you, you’ll have to take a bit of a leap of faith when searching for the right person for the job. By thoroughly vetting the professional you choose, you can mitigate most of the risk in the process! Look to see what degree each candidate possesses, along with any certification or license they may hold. All of these factors add up to a more complete picture of how they’ll handle you as a client.

Just as you work to vet tax accountants for your business, clients want to hire home inspectors with the finest of pedigrees. Allow ICA to provide the training you need to stand out from local competition. Our online home inspector training program is convenient, affordable, and designed to meet industry best practices. There’s no better way to prepare for a new career than with ICA!

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