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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 2 Family Child Care Tax Companion Locating Tax Professionals in Your Area Once you make the decision to work with a tax professional, the next step is finding the right person. First of all, it’s extremely important that your tax professional understand the special tax rules that apply to family child care businesses. Here are some sugges- tions to help you find a tax professional who is familiar with your type of business: • Visit my blog ( and look up your state in the directory of tax professionals who have experience doing family child care tax returns. (I don’t recommend any specific tax professionals.) • Contact one of the three national tax organizations that offer state listings of their professional members: the National Association of Enrolled Agents ( or 202-822-6232), the National Association of Tax Professionals ( or 800-558-3402), or the National Society of Accountants ( or 800- 966-6679). You can also look in the phone book for the local chapter of any of these organizations. • Ask other family child care providers or members of your family child care associa- tion if they can recommend a good tax professional in your area. • Call the IRS at 800-906-9887 to find out if there is an IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site close to you. This program offers free tax help for taxpayers with household incomes under $50,000. VITA volunteers are trained to help prepare basic tax returns in sites across the country. Since some VITA sites don’t prepare business tax returns, be sure to first ask if a site prepares returns for family child care businesses. • Find out if there are any community tax resources that you are qualified to use. For example, some communities have taxpayer assistance services for low-income people. For more information about these programs, contact your local United Way. You might also be considering a commercial tax preparation agency; however, most of these businesses focus primarily on tax returns for wage earners rather than home-based businesses. In addition, a tax professional at one of these agencies may be unfamiliar with the unique tax rules that apply to family child care. If you’re considering a tax preparation service, ask whether the person who will be doing your return has had any recent training on tax returns for home-based businesses—and be prepared to explain the tax rules for family child care to your preparer. Check Credentials By following the above suggestions, you will probably be able to collect the names of at least a few tax professionals. Because of the nature of your business, you can’t neces- sarily assume that any experienced tax professional will be able to prepare your return correctly. Once you have collected your referrals, the next step is to ask each profes- sional about his training and credentials. Ideally, you are looking for someone who is an enrolled agent (EA): • An EA has earned this credential from the IRS by passing a test in tax preparation. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL