You definitely need someone qualified, does not have to be a CPA, could be an Enrolled Agent or an attorney. Just make sure they specialize in tax and have significant experience dealing with real estate investors.
If you need help in your search or want to verify something don't hesitate to ask.
For example: I have clients worldwide and things are just as easy as I e-mail them, talking on the phone. I even use Skype and TeamViewer to communicate with clients so I'd highly recommend looking for one of the best with great references that interviews well with you.
So look for someone you can connect with that works out for your situation.
Feel free to ask here if you have questions
I have here a compiled a list of questions that you can select which are most pertinent to your situation:
What was the most recent CE course you took and when?
What subject is/are your academic degree(s) in?
What is your specialty (tax accounting, tax representation, etc.)
How long have you been practicing?
How many clients do you have?
What percentage of your practice today is in real estate?
Have you represented clients in front of the IRA, and what is your success rate?
Will you share a reference(s) from your current client who runs a business similar to mine?
Will you share a reference who can speak to your representation before the IRA?
How can you or your professional network help me with entity structuring, retirement/estate planning, business analysis, etc.?
Help you define the appropriate business structures, both from a legal protection and from a financial/tax perspective
Help you create a tax strategy for your business that will allow you to legally keep as much money as you possibly can
Help you make smart decisions with respect to your individual real estate investments
Prepare your annual tax returns
Recommend other team members (attorney, insurance agent, real estate agent, etc) who can help make your business a success
What are your credentials?
What services do you offer?
What areas of tax and accounting do you specialize in?
What is your background and do you personally own real estate?
How would I be able to communicate with you? Can I get questions answered by email?
Given my circumstances, what business structure(s) do you recommend? Why?
Can you register the business structures for us?
How can you help in the various phases of real estate investing (acquisition through sale)?
Do you specialize in tax strategy? Specifically geared towards real estate?
How aggressive will you be in helping us keep as much money as possible?
What tax strategies/issues should I be aware of upfront?
How often would you suggest we meet to review our progress/plan?
Do you do tax preparation?
What software do you use (and expect me to use) to do our accounting?
Can you help me find other team members (attorney, insurance agents, real estate agents, etc)?
What is your schedule of fees?
Do you have references?
Some of the questions are duplicated in here for the reason of asking them a different way for a different response.
Also here is a link to another similar discussion we had on this topic (it is some very good reading): http://www.biggerpockets.com/f...