CPAs vs. Tax Preparers: What’s the Difference?

It’s no secret that tax season can be a stressful time for many, which is why a taxpayer may decide to hire a tax professional to relieve them of the stress and headaches. Whether you own a small business with finances on the books year-round or simply need help with tax preparation in Elkhorn, WI, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on the difference between CPAs and tax preparers.

Type of Education

While accountants and tax preparers sound like similar roles, there are differences when it comes to the level of required education. Certified professional accountants (CPAs) are accounting professionals who are looked at as reputable and trustworthy with financial information. Accountants, CPAs, have a college education and, at a minimum, they possess a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

As a tax preparer, he or she may or may not have gone to college to obtain a degree in the field of accounting. Instead, many tax preparers benefit from professional training offered through their place of employment at a tax preparation center.

Required Certification

Even after earning an accounting degree, further certification is required to become a CPA. They must pass a qualifying exam testing their knowledge in a number of accounting practices consisting of not only accounting but also business law, personal finance, audits and taxes. CPA certification requirements are rightfully demanding with the reward of respect within their field.

One does not have to be a CPA in order to seek out a career as a tax preparer. Although not issued a professional certification or license, an individual must first pass an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) exam to be declared an enrolled agent and receive an earned credential. The IRS exam consists of federal tax laws and various other taxation issues.


CPAs may have a greater understanding of all aspects of accounting, personal finance, business law, auditing and more, but CPAs may not be experts in the principals of taxation. It’s because of this they must demonstrate their knowledge in federal tax laws.

Tax preparers have greater knowledge and experience due to the required IRS exam’s focus on tax law in order to earn a designation as an enrolled agent. Therefore, tax preparers are highly knowledgeable in tax laws for big corporations, as well as individuals.

When choosing to use a CPA or tax preparer, it comes down to your financial needs and level of comfort with someone on the outside coming in to take the reigns over your finances. Of the two types of tax professionals, most people hire a tax preparer, as they may not benefit from a CPA who would be more involved in their overall financial picture.

Looking for personal or business tax preparation services in Elkhorn, WI? If you have accounting or taxation needs and would like more information to get you on the right financial path, give the professionals at A Plus Accounting LLC a call today.

Do You Have Back Taxes? Take Care of Them Today!

Tax season is one of those times that comes around each year that’s too big to ignore—it’s like the red-headed stepchild of holidays. That being said, even though you might not like it, it’s still important to go through the yearly routine: collect your documents and spend some quality time with any one of the tax preparation services in Elkhorn, WI.

But what happens if you skip tax day?

It’s a horrifying thought: tax season comes and goes and you forget to file! What do you do? What happens to you? How do you make it right?

In this situation, you’d be looking at back taxes: taxes that are past due and still owed for previous years. It’s actually a problem that many people and businesses face for one reason or another and despite the fear that comes with being on the IRS’ bad side, it’s actually not all that hard to fix.

Back taxes should be handled by a tax professional for a couple of reasons. First, you’re likely going to have to file specially. Second, unless you’re entitled to a huge refund, you’re likely going to owe a penalty on the late taxes. And finally, there’s a risk of being audited, which means you’re going to want a real pro in your corner.

If you’re seeking tax preparation services in Elkhorn, WI for back taxes, look no further than A Plus Accounting LLC Traveling Bean Counters! We can help you make amends with Uncle Sam and make sure all of your future returns are signed, sealed and delivered when tax season rolls around in future years.

Avoid Common IRS Scams During Tax Prep in Elkhorn, WI

Tax season is, unfortunately, an ideal time for common IRS scams. As any expert in tax prep in Elkhorn, WI will tell you, falling victim to a tax-related IRS scam can cost you a great deal of money and even lead to more severe cases of identity theft. By educating yourself regarding some of the most common scams, you can easily avoid losing money or having to go through the terrible process of recovering from identity theft. Here is a short list of some of the most common scams to watch out for.

Although scams like these are the most common, some others do exist. There are fraudulent tax prep services that exist both in person and online. Remember to verify, such as with the Better Business Bureau, the validity of any service that helps with your taxes before handing over important personal information. Allow your tax season to go smoothly by avoiding common IRS scams.

Understanding Allowable Business Expenses Before Tax Prep in Elkhorn, WI

It’s tax season again, which means Americans all over the country are dealing with the same questions they had to ask themselves—and figure out how to answer—last year and the year before, and which they’ll undoubtedly have to ponder again 12 months from now. Even if your situation hasn’t changed very much since last year, filing taxes can be burdensome and frustrating. That’s why it pays to do some advance tax prep in Elkhorn, WI to ensure you aren’t dashing off to the post office or feverishly trying to complete your taxes online come April 15.

Filing taxes is complicated anyway, but for those who have significant business expenses related to owning a small business or being self-employed, things can get even trickier. The seemingly basic question, “What can I deduct?” turns out to be not so simple after all. Fortunately, this is where a tax professional can come into the picture. Here are some basic facts regarding deductible business expenses from the team at A Plus Accounting LLC Traveling Bean Counters:

This is just some of the most basic information about business deductions. For questions unanswered here, or to get more information and guidance to help you with your taxes, seek assistance with tax prep in Elkhorn, WI from the pros at A Plus Accounting LLC Traveling Bean Counters. We look forward to helping make your taxes as easy as possible—and getting you the largest return!

Will You Be Getting a Tax Credit for Your Health Insurance? Your Accountant in Elkhorn, WI Has the Details

The Affordable Care Act remains a source of confusion, frustration and puzzlement for many people, and with tax season in full swing, its impact on many Americans’ tax returns is only one of the ways the ACA is in the news these days. For those who are wondering about how the ACA might affect their tax returns, here’s some useful information from your accountant in Elkhorn, WI.

The biggest change is that, this year, for the first time ever, health care coverage is something you’ll need to report on your tax return. Your options for doing so will be to check a box that says you were covered for the full year or, in the event that you are claiming or have already received premium tax credit payments in advance, fill out a new form indicating as much.

The premium tax credit is available to those who purchased coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. This particular tax credit is designed to make it easier for people with moderate income levels to purchase health insurance during the Marketplace’s open enrollment period. Here are some particulars about the premium tax credit:

When enrolling for health coverage through the Marketplace, you have the option of receiving the premium tax credit right away via payment to your insurance carrier. This will aid in reducing your monthly premium payments. You also have the option of receiving the full amount of the premium tax credit when you file your tax return.

Regardless of how you opted to take the premium tax credit, you’ll still have to fill out the appropriate paperwork when filing your taxes. You’ll fill out Form 8962 if your insurer took your advance payments or if you’re unsure whether you might qualify for the tax credit. If you enrolled in coverage through the Marketplace, you should receive Form 1095-A, which contains information you’ll need to have on hand when filling out Form 8962.

Needless to say, as is the case with so many tax-related situations, the specifics of your situation will matter a great deal when determining whether you can benefit from the premium tax credit. The paperwork involved can seem overwhelming, and while filing online is probably easier, it still poses unique challenges, and in either case, you’ll benefit a great deal from understanding what’s in front of you prior to April 15.

Tax season is stressful for many people, and for many different reasons. With help available, there’s no need to let questions about the Affordable Care Act and your taxes get you down. Contact an accountant in Elkhorn, WI for answers to all your questions about how the ACA might factor into your taxes.