Disclosure: This guide is definitely not intended to seem promotional. To be completely honest, we at eTruckerTax may not be the right preparers for every truck driver and every tax situation. No matter who you choose to do your taxes, these tips should be used simply as a helpful checklist to help you find the best solution for your specific needs.
Quick: Who did your income taxes last year?
Did they give you great service? Were you satisfied with the result, even if you owed taxes? Did they even know the specifics of trucker taxes and the special deductions you are entitled to?
Very often, I get to speak with groups of drivers at trade shows, safety meetings, and truck stops. One of the most common questions I hear is 'How do I find a preparer that's knowledgeable of the whole area of trucker taxes?"
Choosing a tax professional is a highly personal choice. Below are just a few of the questions to ask yourself and potential tax professionals if you're not sure your current preparer is the right person or firm for you:
1) Do they give prompt, attentive service?
- Return calls promptly?
- Easy to reach?
- Courteous and respectful?
2) Do they know trucker taxes inside and out?
- Are they knowledgeable?
- Do they know if you've overlooked something?
- Do they offer tax-cutting suggestions and strategies?
- Do they specialize in trucker taxes?
3) Do they provide a fair value for the fees charged?
- Don't look for the cheapest service -- you get what you pay for.
- Ask for approximate fee ranges if considering a new preparer.
- The right firm won't just take the numbers you give them-- they'll try to find additional deductions.
4) Do they have a good track record?
- How long have they been around?
- Can they provide written testimonials from other drivers?
- Are they known throughout the trucking industry?
- Are they "plugged in" to the trucking industry through relationships, events, and trade shows?
5) Do you like and trust them?
- Are they pleasant to talk to?
- Do you look forward to speaking with them or dread it?
- Do they "get" you and your business?
As I said before, choosing the right tax person is a very important and personal choice. It needs to be a person that you have a good chemistry with, but also a person that you feel comfortable sharing the full details of your financial life with.
Remember: This is your money we're talking about. Do your research and choose wisely.
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Dennis Bridges is a CPA and founder of eTruckerTax.com. His primary focus for the past 20 years has been assisting truck drivers pay the legally lowest amount of income taxes. A recognized leader in finding the best solutions to severe IRS problems, he's written numerous articles for trucking and tax publications, as well as 2 books – "The Truckers Tax Relief Toolkit" and "On Level Ground With the IRS." To learn more, visit eTruckerTax.com.