Will an Accountant Shortage Affect Your Taxes This Year?

A woman reviews a couple's financial statments at a round conference table

Image source: Getty Images

Filing a tax return can be a somewhat daunting process if you're not sure what you're doing. And even if you've filed a tax return before, you may not want to do so this year.

It could be that you started a small business in 2022, and now, your taxes are more complicated. Or maybe you took on a side hustle in 2022, and now, you're not sure what expenses you can safely deduct.

Discover: Find the best tax software for your situation here

Save: We researched free tax software and put together a list of the best here

In these situations, hiring an accountant for tax help could take a lot of stress off of your plate. It could also lead to a larger tax refund hitting your bank account. But if you need tax prep help, you shouldn't delay your search for an accountant. It may prove more difficult than usual to find one this year.

You may be thinking that it's still fairly early in the tax season, and so there's no major rush to seek out tax help just yet. But one thing you should know is that a growing number of small and mid-sized accounting firms are hiring overseas help for the first time to cover a growing need, reports the Wall Street Journal.

It's common for large accounting firms to hire international help during tax season. But smaller firms have been struggling to hire, and the demand for tax help is strong -- hence the need to look to international candidates.

This is exactly why 2023 is not the year to put off your search for an accountant. If you've never hired someone to do your taxes before, or you didn't like the person you used in the past, then it's imperative that you get moving on securing the help you need. Wait too long, and you may get shut out this tax season.

How to find a good accountant

Finding the right person to do your taxes can be tricky, so a good place to start is asking for recommendations from friends, family members, and neighbors. If someone you know had a good experience with a certain tax preparer, there's a good chance you will too.

At the same time, it's important to know what questions to ask an accountant you're looking to hire so you make the right choice. Be sure to ask what experience they have with your situation first. If you own a small business, for example, you'll want someone who's handled small business taxes before.

Next, you'll need to ask about fees. You don't want to get overcharged, but you may not want to go with someone whose fee seems surprisingly low, either, as there may be a reason for it.

If an accountant you talk to can't give you an exact estimate, that's not a bad thing. They actually shouldn't be able to give you an exact number unless your tax situation is really uncomplicated -- in which case you may not need the help in the first place. Giving you a range of fees is perfectly acceptable.

You may be inclined to put off doing your taxes -- including finding an accountant -- until mid-February or even March. But given that so many firms are scrambling to find help, this really isn't the year to postpone that task.

Our picks for best tax software

Our independent analysts pored over the perks and user reviews for the most popular tax provider services to land on the best-in-class picks to file your taxes. Get started by reviewing our list of the best tax software.

We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


More Related Articles

Sign up for Smart Investing to get the latest news, strategies and tips to help you invest smarter.