Ask Tax Pros About Their Credentials.

A tax professional needs to be a Certified Public Accountant, Enrolled Agent, or Tax Attorney. Those are the only professionals allowed to practice before the Internal Revenue Service. CPAs and attorneys are limited to practicing in those states where they are licensed. Enrolled Agents can practice in any state.

More tips on finding a tax professional.

Keep your costs under control. Tax professionals will charge you either an hourly rate for services rendered, or will quote you a flat fee for all services. You want your tax pro to focus on strategies and negotiation with the IRS, and less on routine data entry and paperwork.

Ask your tax pro what paperwork and IRS forms you can fill out yourself, to minimize the your overall fee.