At Everfair Tax we pride ourselves on having Tax Advisor-client relationships that last for many years and it is important that you select someone you will trust and who understands your needs.
Knowing how to choose a well-qualified and competent advisor, whilst ensuring that they have the necessary experience is essential. Here are some points to look out for:
Anyone can call themselves a Tax Advisor - the tax advice industry is not regulated.
Look at their professional qualifications and whether they are a member of a recognised professional body.
The Gold Standard professional body for Tax advisors is the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) www.tax.org.uk . US advisors should have the Enrolled Agent (EA) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) qualification. The CIOT Is the only professional body dedicated specifically to tax advisers.
Advisers who are members of any professional body will have been through a rigorous set of professional exams, are required to keep their skills and knowledge up to date, and must make an annual statement to their professional organisation to prove they have done so. They are also required to hold professional indemnity insurance.
Other UK professional bodies to look out for are: “Association of Tax Technicians (ATT)”, “Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)”, “Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)”.
Finding an adviser, even armed with the knowledge of professional qualifications, can still be difficult. Luckily there are websites available that can help you find an advisor. One such website is the Tax Advice Network http://www.taxadvicenetwork.co.uk. This is an online network of pre-vetted tax advisors, and it lets you search for an adviser according to the type of tax advice you’re looking for.
Once you have found a tax adviser with the right credentials, it’s time to look at the services offered by their firm. If you are looking for international tax advice, you should try and find a firm that has experience in this area. A good starting point will be their website – if the service you are looking for is not there, it is unlikely that the firm specialises in that area.
Search for the firm online, see if they have released any relevant information pieces, or have recent press stories. This should be an indicator that the firm has specialist knowledge.
Arrange a face-to-face initial meeting with your adviser – a good adviser should provide an introductory meeting free of charge, and this will be a key opportunity for you to get to know them and vice-versa.
A good tax advisor-client relationship should last for many years, so it is important that you select someone you feel you will get along with and that understands your needs.
Be sure to ask plenty of questions at your initial meeting, this will help you to get a good feel for whether the adviser understands your requirements.
Following your meeting, a good adviser should provide you with a tailored scope for the work required, the basis on which they charge their fees and a quote for the work. You should ideally compare quotes for two or three different advisers.
Bear in mind that the cheapest advisor may not always provide you with the best service. Incorrect or out-of-date tax advice can be very costly later down the line, so be sure to base your decision on the quality of the adviser and first impressions, with cost a secondary consideration.
If you would like any further advice, please feel free to give us a call on 01932 428522.