The autumn leaves are changing, and “the most wonderful time of the year” is right around the corner…

I’m guessing tax season isn’t exactly at the front of your mind.

But it should be! (At least in the top five things at the front of your mind.) Because as long as you’re getting paid by someone or something, taxes don’t stop. And when it comes to getting your taxes together, who is on your side?

This is one (of many) reasons that you shouldn’t trust your tax problems to the heavy advertising agencies — because that is exactly what they are — who pound your mailbox and the late night airwaves with “GET OUT OF TAX DEBT NOW” messages. They don’t usually have a plan for resolving your problems while also being proactive to help you with taxes moving forward.

But that doesn’t mean that “any local CPA” will do. And despite the self-serving nature of this note, I do want to ensure you have this information.

Because when you’re trying to find a tax preparer to come alongside you, you should keep an eye out for some red flags…

How To Find a Tax Preparer For Southern California Folks With IRS Problems

“Put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket.” -Andrew Carnegie

When speaking with a prospective tax preparer, one of the most common red flags is their promise to secure you a large tax return. If their intent really is to get you that sizeable return, it could mean they get paid for a percentage of your return. Therefore, they’re prone to do anything in the following months — legal or illegal — to get you that “giant” return.

Real tax preparers are required, by law, to possess a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Utilize this IRS-backed PTIN Directory for potential preparers — if you have any checks in your system, double-check online. (In addition, look out for those who say they are “endorsed by the IRS”. That’s a farce — the IRS doesn’t endorse anyone … except maybe Chuck Norris.)

Lastly, make a note of the preparer’s office — if they occupy a “pop-up shop” in town, it might mean they bounce around, city-to-city looking for new pockets of people to prey upon.


Beware: scam artists abound. I have your back on what to look out for, and am always a call away to set up our next tax prep meeting.

That’s the one fool-proof suggestion I can guarantee — your Southern California tax advisor should be local, and should start with relationship. Taxes are important, but they aren’t life. There is so much to take into account when filing your taxes. Your career goals and family aspirations are key factors in the process, and scammers won’t give a care about those priorities — just your money.

If you haven’t decided on a tax advisor, please do some research and make a list of the benefits each option could provide. In today’s digital climate, it’s vital to check online reviews to see others’ past experiences with the professional.


Please let me know if you have any other questions on what to look for in a local tax advisor.

“Deliverance” might sound like an intense term, but until you’ve had a tax professional on your side (not just for tax season), you may not realize the relief it will bring. Again, the IRS is not something to “take on” by yourself. Surround yourself with a quality team.

Go ahead and enjoy the season — take a stroll in the crisp, cool air. And when you do, take time to entertain the thought:

Taxes together.



David Barnes

(714) 541-4338

Barnes Accountancy Corporation