A certified public accountant, or CPA, has passed a state's qualifying accounting exam, but may not be an expert on tax matters.
A CPA can help you create an overall tax plan and guide you through complex financial situations. A CPA may be your best choice if you've recently been divorced, retired, opened or closed a business or had any other lifestyle changes that significantly affected your finances.
If, however, you are primarily interested in tax preparation help, ask the CPA about his or her tax filing experience.
Like an enrolled agent, a CPA can represent you before the IRS. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' website offers guidance on finding a CPA.