Picking a good CPA in South Jersey?
December 20, 2005 10:34 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I are probably going to have a complicated 1040 this year. I've found plenty of places that list licenced accountants, but no clear idea how to judge one from another. Does anybody have personal reccomendations or ideas of what to look out for?
posted by Orb2069 to Work & Money (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I recommend looking to collegues or friends in similar situations and asking for their recommendations. Barring that, an Enrolled Agent is a good idea. They are licensed with the US Department of Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), including examination, collection and appeals functions. Here is a little more info on EAs if you are interested.
posted by blackkar at 11:45 AM on December 20, 2005

Actually, the link that you (Orb2069) provided lists ALL types of accountants, not just "licensed" ones.

In most states, such as Washington, "licensed" is the same thing as being a CPA. By contrast, anyone can open a bookkeeping or accounting service, or assist with tax returns, without being licensed (except a general business license), as long as they avoid certain titles likely to cause confusion, such as "Certified Accountant," "Licensed Accountant," and "Registered Accountant".

The advantage of using a CPA (they're more expensive) is that, like a doctor, their ability to keep that title is subject to a least some potential disciplinary action. So if you're willing to pay a bit more, try to find someone who is both a CPA and an EA (I'd actually give more weight to the latter, though, if you had to choose between the two).

If you've got any friends who are businessfolk, you might ask them who does their (individual) tax returns, since those tax returns are more likely than not to be somewhat complicated.

And whatever you do, I suggest avoiding H&R Block and other low-cost, high-volume providers.
posted by WestCoaster at 12:20 PM on December 20, 2005

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