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6 questions to ask when finding a tax agent near you

Man doing research on a computer to find a tax agent near him

When searching for a tax agent near you, it's important to know exactly what you’re looking for. While there are similarities between tax agents and accountants, the two roles are different as not all accountants are tax agents. In this article, we'll go over six questions you should ask your tax agent during the first consultation.

What is a tax agent?

A tax agent is an accountant who can also prepare and lodge tax returns on behalf of their clients. They are authorised by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to act on behalf of their clients in all taxation matters.  When you sign up with an accountant who is also a tax agent, you’ll sign an authorisation form that authorises them to act on your behalf with the IRD.  This is then filed with the IRD letting them know they are your tax agent and giving them direct access and visibility into all your taxes.

At Beany, we are tax agents and accountants at the same time. 

1. What does the tax preparation process look like?

You’ll likely be provided with an End of Financial Year (EOFY) questionnaire, which is designed to give them the information they need to prepare your tax return. With Beany, we have designed a questionnaire that takes minutes - get in touch to find out more. 

You'll also need to provide your tax agent with any relevant files, such as access to your accounting software, copies of relevant invoices, and other receipts. If you’re not already using accounting software, your accountant may also recommend some (we recommend Xero) to keep digital copies of your records.

You’ll need to keep records for at least seven years, as required by the IRD. Your accountant will let you know what records you need to keep (and how to keep them). The IRD goes into more detail on keeping records here.

2. What type of clients do you work with? 

Be sure the tax agent near you is the one for you. Accountants provide tailored services to individuals and businesses - from small businesses, partnerships and companies, to trusts and freelancers and contractors. That being said, your accountant should have experience working with clients in situations similar to yours.

Ask your accountant about the types of clients they typically work with - for example, do they work with self-employed individuals or small business owners? What industries are they experienced in? At Beany, we work with a wide range of clients, from freelancers to established businesses across a range of industries.

3. How can I minimise tax liability and maximise profits?

A tax agent can help you minimise tax liability and maximise profits by providing expert advice. They can review your financial situation and recommend the most tax-efficient business structure. You’ll also receive advice on eligible deductions, as well as tailored strategies to reduce your tax liability.

One of the primary reasons to work with a tax agent is to minimise your tax liability and maximise your profits. During the first consultation, ask your accountant about strategies to reduce your tax liability. They can advise you on what business expenses you can claim as deductions - such as home office expenses, motor vehicle expenses, and other common expenses. You can quickly find yourself running into grey areas when claiming expenses, so it’s best to stay informed - we have a checklist you can download here.

4. What other services do you offer?

In addition to the core tax-related services, accountants may offer you additional services, such as:

  1. Business advice for clients, such as cash flow management, financial planning, and business strategy
  2. Bookkeeping services to help keep accurate records of any financial transactions
  3. Assistance when subjected to an audit by the IRD

The additional services offered by tax agents may vary depending on the specific accountant and their areas of expertise. If you’re looking for these services, be sure to check with your tax agent during your first consultation.

At Beany, we offer a range of services, including bookkeeping, payroll, and business advice. Our pricing is transparent, with fixed fees over 12 months, meaning you’ll never get a surprise bill. We also offer add-ons to our core package, such as bookkeeping services, and a to help you get your business off the ground. You can find out more here.

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5. What is the level of support I can expect?

Accountants can provide different levels of support depending on your needs. Some may offer ongoing support through regular consultations, while others may only provide assistance as needed - for example, when it’s time to file a tax return. If you find yourself with a good accountant, expect to receive tailored services that meet your specific needs.

During the tax season, it's important to have support from your accountant. This is why we offer unlimited support to our clients. We're available all year round - not just during the end of the financial year - to answer any questions you have about your finances.

6. How do you communicate with clients?

Accountants communicate in many ways - from a simple phone call and email to a video call and in-person meetings. Remote services allow for greater convenience and flexibility, as you’ll be able to connect with your accountant anywhere, at any time. This is especially useful for busy business owners who find themselves constantly on the move. This means accountants can offer you a high level of service and support - without the need for the commute.

Your accountant should be able to communicate with you personally. At Beany, our services are fully remote, meaning you save time (and money). We find that online communication is more convenient for our clients, and it allows us to offer more flexible support.

Beany - the tax agent near you

By asking these six questions during the first consultation, you can find a tax agent who is suited to your personal and business needs.

Why try to find a tax agent near you, when you can receive a high-class service wherever you go? At Beany, we are more than just accountants - we are tax agents as well. Our remote services enable us to provide a seamless and efficient service, no matter where you are. From lodging tax and compliance to advice on how to minimise your tax, your personal accountant (and tax agent) has you covered - get in touch today to find out more.

Chris Wright


Loves music, travel, and Liverpool FC. In that order.

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