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Time To Gather Information About Your Tax Professional

Time To Gather Information About Your Tax Professional

October 20, 2022
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Fall and taxes are the themes this month. Isn't it funny how both require gathering? In the Fall, there is so much to harvest; pumpkins, apples, sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, bananas, and so on. As with the Fall season, we must gather information over time for the tax season and then prepare to take it to our tax person. Do you have a trusted tax professional?

Finding a tax professional or working with your current tax person, you need to know what questions to ask. Not all tax professionals are equal, and it is up to you to do your due diligence and gather information when choosing or remaining with a tax professional.

Regarding retirement income, we often reference the three-legged stool approach or, in other words, three sources of retirement income; pension, social security, and savings. The three-legged stool analogy also applies to the trio of financial professionals that can help you plan for retirement. They are a financial planner, an estate planning attorney, and a tax professional. How much do you know about the person doing your taxes?

The article below may help you select a trusted tax professional or provide you with questions to ask your current tax person. Read "Choosing the Right Tax Professional in 5 Easy Steps" below for more valuable information.

Choosing the Right Tax Professional in 5 Easy Steps…

Why do you need a tax professional? Managing taxes during retirement will be the single most important factor in determining your ultimate lifestyle. In addition to a financial planner and estate planning attorney, a qualified tax professional is an integral part of any planning team.

  1. Ask for references. Have you ever stopped to think about how you picked your doctor or mechanic? Chances are you chose them because a friend or family member recommended them based on a positive experience. The same should be true of your tax professional. Oftentimes, people are afraid to ask for advice from those closest to them when finances are involved but picking the right tax professional is too big of a decision, so “do your homework” and ask around.
  2. Check for credentials. Not all tax preparers are CPAs. In fact, in many states, anyone can prepare tax returns and call themselves a tax professional. Most serious tax professionals will either be a CPA or an EA (Enrolled Agent). However, this does not necessarily mean that they are competent enough in the retirement area to assist you.
  3. Ask about experience. In most cases, you would opt for experience over a novice. Do you really think your choice of a tax professional is that different? Sometimes, there is no substitute for experience. Ask your tax professional about cases like your own, how often they deal with them and how they typically handle them.
  4. Ask about education/training. When most people think “CPA,” they think tax expert. But the rules governing retirement accounts are highly complex and are constantly changing. If your tax professional is serious about this area of retirement planning, they will make sure to stay up to date on the latest tax law changes. Make sure to ask about the last conference or continuing education class they have attended on retirement planning.
  5. Ask about continuity. Planning to maximize your retirement distributions and transfer your wealth is not a one-time deal. Some of your most important decisions may not be made for years, or even decades. If you don’t expect your tax professional to still be working, you may want to ask what type of plan they have in place to make sure you will still receive the high level of advice you deserve when you need it the most.

Copyright © 2022, Ed Slott and Company, LLC- Reprinted with permission. Ed Slott and Company, LLC takes no responsibility for the current accuracy of this information.

Please reach out to our office with any questions you may have. It is that time of year to take stock of your investment strategy(s) and schedule a year-end review. Below is a helpful resource to gather information to prepare you for a review and the upcoming tax season. Please click on the link below titled "PREPARING FOR YEAR-END & THE 2022/2023 TAX SEASON".  If you are a current client of DFG and have an account(s) with LPL, this information will be a valuable resource to you and to our guest readers


We look forward to hearing from you, and Happy Fall!

David S Dixon, CFP®