Before you know it, your annual tax return time will be here. When tax season is upon us, almost 70 percent of businesses hire a tax accountant to handle all aspects of their tax returns. Even though there is a cost involved with outsourcing to an experienced tax professional, it is very important to work with an accountant – especially when it comes to your tax return. It will save you time, and take away the stress from ensuring you are completing your taxes correctly. You won’t have to worry about mistakes, and your returns will more likely be done accurately than if you had tried to do them yourself.

In addition, not only do tax accountants offer you convenience, but they can also give you the right advice and ensure you are receiving the best possible refund from the Australian Taxation Office. The peace of mind, and understanding that working with an accountant is a necessity for your business is enough to look for an account today! 

Not everyone is familiar with tax accountants and professionals in Australia. Here in Australia, we have different three types of accountants. 
  1. Registered Tax Agents: Registered tax agents need to complete a minimum standard of hours per year studying tax law to continue to be registered to lodge tax returns. They are the best accounting professionals to help your complex tax situations. They will also represent you with you being audited by the Australian Taxation Office. 
  2. Certified Practising Accountants: A certified practising accountant is unable to lodge tax returns in their own right and is often not trained to handle diverse tax issues. 
  3. Tax Lawyers: A tax lawyer specialises in tax law, and works as solicitors. They are best used when you need to take a case before the court or when complexing a complex business tax return that has legal requirements involved. 

While all accountants are great with accounting and ledgers, not all may be able to lodge a tax return on behalf of a business and clients. They also may not be trained or have the expertise to deal with complex tax issues. The only accountants that can help you lodge your tax returns is a qualified professional tax agent or an accountant that works under the supervision of a tax agent. To ensure that you are working with a qualified tax agent, you can always ask them for their tax agent number and check their details online at the Tax Practitioners board.  

Here are our tips for finding someone you can trust with your finances and sensitive personal information.
1. Ask your peers

It’s easy to google “tax accountant” and go with the first result. But that may go pear shaped for you if you haven’t done your research. Referrals are a great way to find a trusted accountant. By asking your peers, family, friends and other business owners, you can discover valuable information such as pricing models and average costs. Your financial advisor may also be able to point you in the right direction. All businesses file taxes, so you should be able to find a wealth of names from people you know. 

It’s always good to call around to the recommended firms before you set up meetings to explore whether they have the capacity for your business and if they have the expertise for your business. Don’t forget to check out their independent reviews, assess their website and the services they provide.

2. Meet the accountant in person before hiring

You need to trust your accountant – after all, they will be working with your money and trying to find ways to maximise your tax return, so it is important to meet them before hiring or making any big decisions to get a feel of their personality and working style. It’s good to explain why you are looking for an accountant and what you want to achieve from the partnership. This will help you set expectations up front and assist the tax accountant in understanding the scope. It is also a great opportunity to make sure the tax accountant understands your taxes and tax situation. 

You should also ensure that the tax accountant is a registered tax agent through the Australian Taxation Office

3. Questions to ask a prospective tax accountant

I’ve already mentioned that you should guarantee that the tax accountant is a registered tax agent. But there are some additional questions that are helpful to ask and be comfortable with the answers before hiring a professional tax accountant. Some include:

  • What licenses and designations do you have? 
  • What kind of fee structure do you offer? 
  • Your fees and are they negotiable based on workload? 
  • How long has your practice been servicing small/medium businesses? 
  • Do you offer services outside tax filing? Will they be able to offer you business advice as well? 
  • What tax issues do you specialise in? 
  • Do you and your team personally complete all the tax filings or are you outsourcing to other externals? 
  • What are the time frames to complete a yearly tax return? 
  • How do you think you can work together with my business? 
4. It’s ok if you made a mistake on your decision

It’s reality – you may be unhappy with your chosen professional tax accountant. Also, it’s easy to think you are stuck with them forever, however, this isn’t the case. If you are not happy with your relationship or the results, you always have the chance to look around for someone else. 

In conclusion

Your tax professional should care about you, your business, and most importantly, your tax return. You need to put the effort in to build a solid relationship and keep your best interests in mind. On the other hand, your tax agent should be dedicated to helping you become financially secure, committed to providing the best and most effective tax solutions and services to your business. They should be upfront with their expectations from you, their costs, and transparent with the process required to complete your tax return. Your investment into a tax agent is a necessity for your business. 

A tax accountant service for small businesses is an important part of your company’s success. You need a firm that is reliable and there for you when an issue arises. When you choose an accountant firm for a small business, they can manage your accounting tasks and offer your business advice and support. Start your accounting firm search today, by getting in touch with us at R T Taxation & Accounting Services. You can take advantage of our Outsourced CFO Services to leave the administrative hassle of running your small business to the experts and for you to do what you know best.