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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 4 Family Child Care Tax Companion Hire the Best Person Once you have narrowed your list to the professionals who have the credentials you are looking for and who understand the special rules that apply to your business, it’s time to choose the best person. In making this decision, consider the following questions: • Is the tax professional available all year or only during the tax season? Does the preparer do tax planning for the upcoming year? A tax professional who is in busi- ness year-round and who does tax planning will probably be able to offer you better service. • What does the tax professional charge? Is the fee based on a flat amount per return, a charge per form, or an hourly rate? Some tax professionals will quote a range for the fee before looking at your particular situation. Be sure to ask up front about all the fees. • Is the tax professional willing to provide references from other clients who are fam- ily child care providers? Ask the clients if the tax professional returned their calls promptly, was easy to work with, and answered all their questions. • Do you and the tax professional share a similar philosophy about taxes? If you are very conservative in claiming deductions, look for a professional who understands this and will follow your wishes. If you are more assertive in claiming deductions, look for someone who is comfortable with this approach. • Do you feel comfortable with the tax professional? Is the person easy to reach and to talk with? Working with Your Tax Professional When you choose a tax professional, show her the Tax Organizer in part 2 of this book. Some tax professionals have their own tax worksheets or organizers that they like their clients to use. The advantage of the organizer in this book is that it is specifically designed for family child care providers, and your tax professional will probably find it helpful. Before you fill it out, however, show it to her and find out if she has any con- cerns about using it. Also ask her for a list of the other information and records that she will need from you. For example, your tax professional is likely to ask for the following: • • • • • a copy of your last tax return any estimated tax payments you made this year any Form 1099s you received any W-2 forms you or your spouse received any other income you received The next step is to fill out the Tax Organizer and send it to your tax professional. The information in this section is organized by tax form to make it easy for you to fill out and convenient for your tax professional to use. The notes and checklists will help alert both you and your tax professional to the special rules that apply to family child care, so you can both ensure that your taxes are accurate and take advantage of all the deductions you are entitled to claim. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL