Questions to ask prospective Real Estate Tax CPA's

4 Replies

Hi Everyone,

I'm looking to find the best Real Estate specific Tax CPA for my businesses (Flipping, Rentals, Construction Company)

What are some Real Estate specific questions you ask in a phone interview to flush out true Real Estate Tax specialists from everyday Tax professionals?
(No offense intended to any Tax professionals). I just trying to find the best.

Thanks for your help

@Max Aronov coming from a CPA who runs a firm with 300+ real estate clients, I'd stay away from "quizzing" the tax pro. Reason being that your questions will most likely touch on basic information only (you don't know the technical stuff) and you may not even understand the questions you are asking. Additionally, I can throw out all sorts of sexy acronyms that you won't understand but you'll think I look great because the other guy you interviewed didn't say anything I'm saying. But in reality, all of these sexy acronyms and citing code sections can just be smoke an mirrors if they're aren't relevant to your unique tax position.

So here's what I would ask:

1. How do you bill for your services? Hourly, value, fixed.

2. What does your client process look like - where do we start and what can I expect?

3. Can you provide an example of how you have helped grow a real estate client's business (the answer should not be related to tax and accounting)?

4. For someone in my position, where do we start in terms of tax strategies? I know there are really great tax strategies out there, I also know I may not be to that point yet. So where are we going to start?

5. Can you provide examples of how you proactively assisst your clients?

6. Can you provide an example of when you may have delivered bad service to someone and what you did to remedy it?

**

Answers to the questions will give you clues as to how the CPA works with his/her clients. That's ultimately what you are looking for - someone who will take care of you and deliver a great experience.

Don't ask technical questions - you won't fully understand the answers. Don't ask "do you own investment real estate" because they can easily lie - how would you ever know?

Focus on asking questions about the client experience. How proactive is the CPA going to be? Do they offer webinars, newsletters, or other outside services to deliver extra value?

Great answer thank you for the advice.

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.

Here is a great list of questions to ask a potential accountant: http://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/51/topics/70447-questions-to-ask-a-cpa

Also check out the www.NAEA.org page in your search. It should help you find someone local. If someone comes to me, I'll send them your way.

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

@Max Aronov

Really great answers above.

Aside from getting to know the professional and making sure its a good personality fit (this is a relationship based service after all), I would ask a single, simple open ended question:

How will you maximize my tax position while at the same time keeping me 100% compliant?

Let the CPA take that and run with it. You'll understand what type of tax preparer he/she is by listening to the answer.

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