Steps to Finding the Right Clergy Tax Professional
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants encourages the more than 81 million taxpayers who hire professional assistance each year to make an appointment early in the year with their tax preparer before their schedules fill up.
The federal tax code has more than one million words, is several thousand pages long, and in 2009 alone, there were 500 changes to the code, or more than one per day. More than ever, Americans need the counsel of trusted tax professionals to decipher the complex tax code and apply it to their unique financial situations.
“The tax code is like a thousand-page instruction manual that’s always changing. Reading, interpreting and applying this technical document is no easy feat for the untrained eye. In this tough economic climate, taxpayers can’t afford to leave money on the table. So, they should only work with a tax advisor who’s up-to-date on the latest clergy tax law changes.”
Six tips to help taxpayers find the right clergy tax professional:
1. Ask about experience. Inquire about the tax preparer’s years of experience and continuing education. Does the preparer have the tax knowledge to accurately represent your interests? Many Americans don’t realize how important up-to-date training is when selecting a clergy tax advisor. A recent survey from The Tax Institute found 76 percent of participants failed to list “knowledge of current clergy tax laws” as an important trait when picking a tax professional.
For 30 years, more clergy have trusted Clergy Financial Resources than any other service to help them save money at tax time. Our clergy tax professionals are required to attend continuing professional education each year to stay current with regulatory and legal changes. In addition, we adhere to strict ethical standards.
2. Know their area(s) of expertise. A sick patient wouldn’t see an orthopedic doctor for a head cold, and clergy shouldn’t use a tax preparer who’s not an expert in clergy tax law.
Clergy Financial Resources is a national accounting and finance organization only for clergy specializing in clergy tax law in all 50 states.
3. Protect sensitive data. Tax professionals review earnings statements, investment records, Social Security Numbers and other private information. Make sure you trust the tax preparer to review and protect your confidential data.
For current and former clients, we do not disclose any nonpublic personal information obtained in the course of our practice except as required or permitted by law. Permitted disclosures include, for instance, providing information to our employees, and in limited situations, to unrelated third parties who need to know that information to assist us in providing services to you. In all such situations, we stress the confidential nature of information being shared.
4. Do a background check. Investigate the tax preparer’s history with the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility. If the organization has a complaint against the tax professional, think twice before using his or her services.
5. Understand availability. While taxes are typically prepared January – April, the IRS corresponds with taxpayers throughout the year. So, it’s important to select a tax company that’s available after April 15th.
Clergy Financial Resources provides year-around accounting and finance services.
6. Only claim what’s legal. Avoid tax preparers who say they can obtain larger-than-average refunds. Refund estimates should be based on deductions and credits taxpayers are legally permitted to claim.
Regardless of who prepares the return, the taxpayer is legally responsible for the information on the return. Researching the best clergy tax professional now can prevent significant financial and legal harm later.
At Clergy Financial Resources, we’ll give your taxes the personal, confidential, professional attention they deserve. Try us and see.
For more information about Clergy Financial Resources’ services click here.
For a free review of your 2009 income tax contact us below or by phone at 763.425.8778