If you are considering hiring a tax preparer this year – you have the following options to choose from: an uncertified tax preparer, an enrolled agent, or a CPA. Which type of tax preparer is right for you?
An uncertified tax preparer does not need to have a degree or meet experience requirements. They just have to apply for a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) and be at least 18 years old. They cannot represent you in resolving IRS tax issues.
An enrolled agent also does not need to have a degree or meet experience requirements. They just have to pass a three- part enrolled agent certification exam developed by the IRS. However, they have continuing education requirements (24 credits per year) and they can represent you in resolving IRS tax issues.
A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) has a Bachelor’s degree, continuing education requirements (40 credits per year), and they are licensed by the State Board of Accountancy and must abide by its rules. Plus, many are members of the Association of International Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and are also subject to the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct, as well.
Further, to be licensed in New Jersey, a CPA needs a Bachelor’s degree plus 30 additional semester hours from an accredited school, meet experience requirements, and pass a four- part Uniform CPA exam, which is one of the most rigorous licensure exams to pass!
In addition to professional tax preparation and tax advice, CPAs can also provide financial statements, management consulting, audits, bookkeeping, IRS audit representation, and more.
If you or your business require the professional services that only a CPA can provide or you simply want the peace of mind that comes with a licensed and regulated professional, a CPA may be the better fit for you!