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Mistake #1:  Choosing a tax consultant simply because they are an ex-state auditor – There is no questioning the fact that your tax consultant should be an expert in Texas Sales and Use Tax.  But, just because someone was an ex-state auditor that does not guarantee that they are an expert.  In many cases, they are far from an expert.  Auditors are trained that all taxpayers are criminals and stealing money from the State and it is their job to find the money.  That’s hard to train that out of someone when they decide to switch sides and advocate for the taxpayer.  Our perspective is that most Texas taxpayers are just good people trying to make a living and provide jobs for other people to support their families.  In most cases, any errors that are made by taxpayers are simply because they didn’t know.  They aren’t criminals and they aren’t stealing from the State.  They want to do things right, they just don’t know how.

Mistake #2: Choosing a tax consultant based on price alone – Yes, price is important and when everything else is equal, it may be the deciding factor.  But very rarely is everything equal. For example, how many of you are driving used Yugos?  Or wearing a suit you bought at a garage sale?  Or watching an 8-inch black and white television?  Have you heard the old saying “you get what you pay for”?  That’s absolutely the case here.  You should make sure that the consultant you hire is highly experienced, especially in your industry.  Do they offer a written satisfaction guarantee and do they have solid references that you can talk to on the phone and make sure they will deliver what they say they will?

Mistake #3:  Choosing a tax consultant based on a single telephone call – One telephone call cannot give you the information and confidence you need to make an educated choice.  Instead, interview them as if you were hiring them for a permanent position with your company, ask for references, ask them some of the questions we’ve outlined in this guide.  How did they answer?  Did they know the answer?  Some of the people who are calling you are not consultants but sales people who work for a consultant and really don’t have any idea what they are talking about.  How can you get the confidence you need if you aren’t even talking to the expert?

Mistake #4:  Choosing a tax consultant who doesn’t offer a satisfaction guarantee – Every tax consulting firm and tax consultant should be fully accountable for their work.  If you aren’t pleased with the service in every way, you shouldn’t have to pay for it.  Period.  Not many consultants offer a guarantee.  Or, if they do, the guarantee may be “limited”.  Ask them if they offer a satisfaction guarantee and make sure the guarantee is included on the written quote you receive from them.

Mistake #5: Choosing a consultant without getting comments from other clients – Consultants can and will say anything about former audits they’ve worked on.  Unfortunately, some of what they say may not be true.  Make sure you ask for references or read comments from current clients.