For tax aid, try 'enrolled agent'

February 14, 1993|By Knight-Ridder News Service

So, you decided to hire a professional tax preparer this year. Problem is, you want someone who can find every deduction, credit or allowance you legally deserve.

Many people instinctively turn to an accountant, says Bob Kamman, a Phoenix attorney specializing in tax law. In reality, he says, an "enrolled agent" would do just as well -- and cost you about half as much money.

"If you file a typical nonbusiness return, you need a CPA as much as you need an industrial engineer to work on your car," Mr. Kamman says in the February issue of Tax Savings Report, a newsletter published by the National Taxpayers Union.

To be an enrolled agent, a person must pass an IRS tax-law exam. The applicant also must meet requirements for continuing education.

When looking for a tax preparer, check with friends and co-workers whose finances are similar to yours.

Many tax-preparers will agree to an initial consultation -- for a fee -- during which they will review your past tax returns. That session may cost anywhere from $25 to $100.

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