Using a certified public accountant or enrolled agent is a good way to know that your finances will get some quality attention this tax season.

Using a certified public accountant or enrolled agent is a good way to know that your finances will get some quality attention this tax season.


Millie Tobolsky of the Tobolsky and Wachsler accounting firm in Sharon and Norwood, Mass., said certified public accountants could be subject to a $5,000 fine or the loss of their licenses if they make a mistake on a return.


Tobolsky suggests seeking the guidance of a professional tax preparer if you have recently undergone a major lifestyle change such as getting married or having a child.


David Dennis, managing partner of the Dennis & Associates accounting firm in Quincy, Mass., said poorly qualified preparers may overlook important deductions and credits or make mistakes that could cost you penalties and interest. 


“Stick to CPAs and professionals that you know are in the community year-round,” Dennis said.


A tax preparer that is only open seasonally may not be able to help you if you need additional assistance at another time in the year with a previous return.


CPAs require at least 80 hours of continuing education each year to keep up with changes in the tax law, Dennis said.


But Dennis said that not everyone needs the assistance of a CPA. If you have a simple return without many deductions, going to a chain such as Liberty Tax Service or H&R Block could be a good option and may be less expensive.


Shaunna Gately may be reached at sgately@ledger.com.