You can find good tax help these days. YOUR TAXES

`OVER half the taxpayers had to have some kind of professional tax help last year,'' says Joseph M. Flynn, a tax partner in the Boston office of Arthur Young & Co. ``It's too bad that something that's supposed to be a fundamental obligation of citizenship has to be so complicated.'' For many people, fulfilling that obligation isn't going to get any less complicated this year. True, individuals and families who have have wages, pay rent, and have some interest on their bank accounts will find it easier to file their taxes. And in future years, as the personal exemption and standard deduction increases, more people won't have to itemize deductions anymore, which will make their tax-filing lives simpler, too.

But for many others, good, professional tax preparation assistance has become even more important. The Internal Revenue Service has estimated that there will be at least 3.5 million more math mistakes than usual this year. If you haven't used a tax accountant or preparer before, this may be the year to get one. Taxpayers who need - or think they will need - a tax accountant or preparer but don't have one should start looking now.

``People should get on the phone can call around now'' for a tax preparer if they don't have one, says Christopher Croft, a financial planner in Palo Alto, Calif.

``If you're going to get someone to do your taxes, start now,'' agrees Sheldon Ganis, a tax partner at Spicer & Oppenheim, a New York accounting firm. ``I predict they're going to get very busy very early this year.''

The first thing many people will want is somebody who has kept up with the changes in the tax laws, both the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and the revisions contained in the Revenue Act of 1987, passed in December. Both bills, but especially Tax Reform, had the effect of discarding a tax code that had been built up over half a century and replacing it with a new one overnight.

Most preparers have been attending dozens of seminars and meetings over the last year or so. If they work for a large accounting firm, there have been at least as many in-house training sessions.

``We've put on over 200 seminars around the country in the past year,'' says Renee Fourness, director of membership services at the National Association of Tax Practitioners. Still she says, ``there will always be some people that don't keep up, so look for someone who takes part in a continuing-education program.''

Many of the association's seminars have been held for individual preparers and those who work for small firms with a few professionals, Ms. Fourness says.

The tax help you get depends in part on how complicated your return is and, perhaps, your occupation. A doctor, real estate agent, or actor, for instance, might want to find tax preparers who have specialized in these areas; they've already done much of the research on the various deductions and credits that apply to certain professions.

And because the tax changes were so sweeping, accountants and preparers who specialize have been able to concentrate on changes that affect their clients. Many accountants just haven't had time to follow every change and how they would affect every type of taxpayer.

If you think your profession might require some specialized tax help, ask the people you work with, or a friend or relative who has a similar occupation or tax situation.

An accountant who specializes, moreover, will be able to offer continuing tax advice during the year, on such things as buying a car if you're self-employed, keeping records of deductible items for an individual or business, or helping to explain the tax consequences of investment decisions.

How much you pay for tax help depends on the size of the firm. People with fairly uncomplicated tax returns will find the tax help at commercial preparers like H&R Block more than adequate. Fees for doing the 1040, itemizing deductions, reporting interest and dividends, and preparing a state return might run about $50 to $70.

At a small tax preparation firm with a few professionals, the fees could run from $30 to $40 an hour, plus $300 to $500 to prepare the actual returns.

The costs at a large ``Big Eight'' accounting firm are going to be substantially more, in some cases, over $2,000. But the services of these firms are best used by high-income people who have heavy business expenses or are frequently moving in and out of various investments, including tax shelters.

At these big firms, a junior tax practitioner will complete an individual's return, and it will then be reviewed by more-senior members. Also large firms have dozens of specialists who can offer solutions to complicated tax problems. -30-{et

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