Is there a trusted listing service for tax accountants? I'm reluctant to call the first listing I see on google or to search craigslist. I also have no idea what is a fair amount for such a person to charge me. Also, is there some sort of credentialing system that would let me know that I can actually trust the advice of the person I hire?

(I'm looking for help with taxes in the United States).

  • What kind of help are you looking for? back taxes, corporate taxes... – mhoran_psprep Mar 19 '12 at 3:43
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    At this time of the year, and if you are needing help before the tax return deadline, it might be difficult to find a good tax accountant willing to take on a new client. – Dilip Sarwate Mar 19 '12 at 3:47
  • I'm looking for help with this situation. Basically, I haven't filed in years and am trying to figure out how to get current w/ the IRS. – BackTaxes Mar 19 '12 at 6:01
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    For this situation you can wait a bit (although you might miss refunds from yet another year, but I would guess that had you been expecting refunds you'd file taxes, and whatever unexpected refunds you might have had - all gone for the penalties). When the tax season is over - get a CPA or a tax attorney who specializes in the area of individual tax, and deal with it. – littleadv Mar 19 '12 at 7:31

Each state licenses CPA working in that state, and you can (probably) browse the listings of licensed CPA's on the relevant state agency site. Some states (I know about California and New York) license any tax preparer, and have listings of the licensed preparers. People who licensed can be sued for malpractice (they have bonds/insurances for that), those not licensed can be sued for practicing without license and malpractice.

Whether you can trust or not..... Only first-hand recommendations, and from my experience even that won't be enough.

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  • I have the same question as the OP: I probably cannot afford the CPAs who charge $100+/hr but I don't think I need them anyways. How can I lookup ratings (like on Yelp) of EAs who have some experience handling international students? I am in SoCal. Should this be a separate question? – f1StudentInUS Mar 19 '12 at 5:34
  • @f1StudentInUS probably. Why do you need EA? why do you need a tax preparer at all? Do it yourself, its fairly simple. – littleadv Mar 19 '12 at 5:52
  • I have so many questions! My exams don't finish till next week and I just got started with the irs 519 and it's long. My only guide is this forum and our campus advisor (who at the moment is obviously overwhelmed). The most horrible part is none of the generally available software can handle international students in a non-residential status! – f1StudentInUS Mar 19 '12 at 6:44
  • @f1StudentInUS if you want - send me an email through my blog and I can try and help you (not as a licensed professional and not for fee, without taking any responsibility etc etc). Its simple enough for you to be able to do it on your own, really. – littleadv Mar 19 '12 at 7:29
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    For non-immigrant students, not only might the tax forms be different (1040NR versus 1040 or 1040A or 1040EZ) but tax treaties can affect how various items are reported and taxed. Thus, generally available software is likely to be un-useable by foreign students because there are too many special cases to be programmed in by the software maker, and not worth it (for the maker) in light of anticipated increase in sales. – Dilip Sarwate Mar 19 '12 at 17:51

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