Turbo Tax. Tax Act. Credit Karma. HR Block. The guy your parents use. What makes me different?
Or better? Well, firstly, my experience of almost 20 years has been with a combination of "normal folk" to High Net Worth, from local wage earners to international investors. This knowledge allows me to not only prepare returns correctly and rather quickly, but to also easily impart advice and solutions, often concurrent with the prep process. TAX PREPARATION WITH A REAL PRO IS NOT JUST TYPING IN THE NUMBERS IN THE RIGHT BOXES, BUT IN UNDERSTANDING THE LAW AND PROCEDURE BEHIND IT ALL. A software program might detect an error like a letter in a number field, but it won't tell you want you are doing wrong, or why. Only a human professional can do that (for now, at least!) At the chain preps, expertise is not guaranteed, and yet the price may be quite steep. Their pro might have just enough knowledge to simply know where a form is keyed in the software. And, you can find unlicensed tax pros just about everywhere, including ones that perform outright fraud.
Working with me, you get FULL SERVICE, ETHICAL AND VALUE-ADDED support, all at a cost that is commensurate to the complexity of your situation and time involved to complete or resolve. You won't be charged inflated "per form" costs for having kids or even for having rental property. In my line of work, these are are common things, and hence the process can be quite efficient.... and dare I say a little more convenient, enjoyable, and thorough than the guy your parents use.
Over the past few decades, the big box chains and online tax services have taken considerable business away from the local tax preparer. But.... they cannot compete with the service of an experienced and credentialed pro, especially one that charges fairly and works with a client's best interest in mind.... like me!
A Certified Public Accountant is an accounting professional. Most CPAs are great with taxation, but GAAP and other accounting principles and procedures are not tax-centric. I am a CPA (licensed in NJ) who holds a Master of Science degree in Accounting, and my firm is registered with the NJ Board of Accountancy.
An Enrolled Agent is a tax professional. Enrolled Agents achieve their license through a 3 part exam on Individual Tax, Business Tax, and IRS Procedures. Enrolled Agents do not have the authority to practice any accounting or auditing engagements requiring a CPA license. With several minor exceptions, however, EAs can help people in any state with tax matters and even big tax problems.
Generally-speaking, being both a CPA and EA demonstrates a commitment to education in the realms of both tax and accounting. And, since some people aren't sure if they should use a CPA or an EA for resolving tax disputes, it makes me (a practitioner pushing 20 years in the field, and destined for another 30) an easy choice!
Besides being a nerdy tax pro, I am also a human being with interests, hobbies, and opinions about the world! Among other things, I enjoy National Parks and non-lazy travelling, historical podcasts, baseball (Let's Go Mets!), cats, architecture and design, delicious food, TV show bingeing, film criticism, trivia, and garage sale-ing. I support causes and movements that aim to combat climate change, treat all beings with respect and fairness, keep freeform radio on the air, and more. I also like to learn about my clients too, and appreciate both the similarities and differences we may have. If possible, I might even try to make my clients laugh, smile and enjoy getting their taxes done (and, yes, even those who owe). Personality is key to personalized communication.
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IRS Circular 230 Notice: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, Christina Sharkey, CPA, EA is informing you that any U.S. tax advice contained in the entries of my site or newsletter blog (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed here.
If you need professional tax advice and want to rely upon my expertise and opinion, contact me to work under a paid engagement. The information in the blogs or newsletters may change, and the postings are not constantly updated to reflect changes.
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