Few people look forward to filling out tax forms. If the prospect of doing them yourself seems overwhelming, there's always another option: Turn to a good tax preparer.

That could be especially true this year as people feel the impact of new rules under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. 

"We always see bumps in the number of people going to a paid professional when there are tax changes," says Eric Smith, a spokesman for the Internal Revenue Service.

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Many consumers, in fact, have already been complaining on social media that they didn't realize how much the new tax rules would affect their bottom line. 

Getting tax preparation help doesn't have to expensive, and any costs could be more than covered by the money you'll save from making mistakes, says Mandi Matlock, of counsel to the National Consumer Law Center.

"If the new rules are unclear or if there were changes in your life, such as getting a divorce, you may want to consult a professional," she says. 

Where to Look

To find professional help, you can turn to the IRS website for a list of preparers who meet its qualifications. Keep in mind that all tax preparers who charge a fee to work on federal tax returns must have a valid Preparer Tax Identification Number, so be sure to ask for it.

Also, no matter where you go to get a tax preparer, Matlock says to be sure to question any “junk” fees that might be charged—for instance, an application or document-preparation fee.

But before you go looking, the first step is to know about the different kinds of services and tax preparers available to you. Here's what to consider.

• You may be able to get tax preparation help free. If your household income was low to moderate for your community or you’re at least 50 years old, you might not have to pay anything for tax help. The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide service will pair you with trained volunteers who can handle Form 1040 and schedules A and B.

• You can turn to a certified public accountant. In addition to using the IRS’ tax-preparer search page, go to your state’s CPA society to find a preparer. Just remember that not all CPAs specialize in completing individual income tax returns, so you’ll have to ask. 

Another option is to hire an enrolled agent. Unlike CPAs, who can handle a variety of financial services, enrolled agents focus solely on taxes. They must have worked for the IRS for at least five years or passed exams on tax codes and calculations. Enrolled agents might work for themselves or at a CPA firm or storefront office. You can search for one at the National Association of Enrolled Agents website.

• Consider national tax preparation chains. Walk-in services such as H&R BlockJackson Hewitt, and Liberty Tax Service may be adequate for simple, straightforward returns, and they’re relatively inexpensive. Tax preparers at the national chains have usually completed a course, and newcomers’ work is reviewed by experienced supervisors.