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Dear PoP – Advice for Choosing a Tax Accountant / Preparer

by Prince Of Petworth February 19, 2010 at 2:30 pm 19 Comments

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Photo from PoPville flickr user binklesworth

“Dear PoP,

My partner and I purchased a house in Columbia Heights this past summer. In the past we have both prepared our taxes ourselves; however, this year we’ll be leaving it to a professional. We don’t mind paying a premium for a job well done, but we also don’t want to waste money on someone who just walks us through an online program.
I’m a bit hesitant to use a national chain, such as H&R Block, due to a number of anecdotal stories of bad experiences–although I’m sure there are just as many good experiences. It would nice to find someone local in the community to give our business.

Our situation is a bit unique, but nothing off the books: we were not married in 2009, so each will be filing as single; we purchased a house jointly in July 2009; one of us lives in the house, but the other lives abroad (Foreign Service, so his permanent residence is still technically DC); we rent a room in the house, so we have rental
income; we also have various unreimbursed business-related expenses and medical expenses that may be deductible; otherwise, there’s nothing that seems too complicated.

Our questions lie mostly with splitting up the rental income, home purchase closing-related points/costs, mortgage interest, and the homebuyers credit; and secondly how the rental effects our home purchase and maintenance-related credits/deductions. Income-wise, one or both of us may be borderline on tax brackets, so we also want to
calculate if/how additional 2009 IRA contributions could lower our taxes.”

I hope there are great non H & R Block recommendations. I’m looking for someone as well!

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