Most people will hire accountants to help in filing tax returns, therefore few will know about the advantages of the government’s plan in Making Tax Digital. This new process will be more efficient for businesses, change the role of some accountants, save time and money!

When looking for an accountant for support, there are a few things to consider:

How do I find an accountant?

Ask other small-business owners for recommendations. You could do some online research to find good local accountants. For added peace of mind, you could look for members on the websites of such organisations as the ICAEW or ACCA. Shortlist at least four; have a look at their websites; see what they offer. But – crucially – go and see them face-to-face before deciding. You need to walk away from that meeting confident that they know what they’re doing and their services will match your needs and expectations. Always be clear about how much you will have to pay – including any additional fees charges.

Ask For a Tax Identification Number

It’s a legal requirement for to anyone who assists in the preparation of tax returns aiming for compensation to have a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number). However, if the preparer is a volunteer, they will not need to have a PTIN. It is a legal requirement, so there is no getting away from that.

Require A Law License, Enrolled Agent Designation or CPA

It’s easy to get a PTIN, but you also need to look out for further legal  credentials. An individual who has an attorney’s license, a certified public accountant, has completed IRS’s filing season program or enrolled agent.

These credentials will not only ensure they are a professional accountant, but they will be prepared for the upcoming MTD for VAT.

Experienced Accountant?

You may be asking, if they are already accredited, do they need to be experienced as well?

For businesses in sectors with specific tax rules, it’s crucial. Rules for most other business are largely the same, so you’ll just need to find an accountant with a good track record of working for small or new businesses. My advice? Pick a reputable local firm – they should be able to prove their suitability.

Compare Fees

Different accountant and consultants charge different fees. However, a legitimate tax consultant will charge hourly, and if you will come across those whose fee bases on refund size, then it’s a red flag.

Currently, the Making Tax Digital Software make the process more efficient. This should therefore be more cost effective for both the business owner and the accountant.

Confirming They Can Sign On Dotted Line

It is essential to make sure that you don’t sign any blank tax return because the accountant can put anything on your return that includes even their bank account number and steal your refund.

Any final advice on choosing an accountant?

Only that changing your accountant isn’t hard – so don’t over stress about choosing one. If it isn’t working for you, find another accountant – simple as that.

If you are experienced enough to take the plunge yourself and manage your taxes, ensure you are prepared for the digital tax introduction in 2019. Use a Making Tax Digital Software and create an efficient in-house process.