There are many out there that provide Tax Services some you see really strongly from Jan-April are National chains, some are Public Accountants(not certified) and some come in the form of Software you pay for to do your Income Taxes.
There have been changes by the IRS to keep a strong control on who does taxes that they follow strict standards and requirements set forth which are put in place to protect Taxpayers. Check IRS.gov for what to look for if you hire a tax professional.
CPA's have additional standards that they must follow and to practice as a CPA in PA.
-They must have two years (3,200 hours) of professional experience including 800hours of attest activity to become become a CPA.
-Pass a very intense four-Part exam that tests in the areas of Financial Accounting and reporting, auditing and attestation, regulation and business environment and concepts.
-Comply with a strict code of ethics
-Adhere to high standards of independence, integrity, objectivity and professional compliance
-Completed 80 hours of continuing professional education every 2 years to stay current with new rules and regulations.
-Undergo a peer review every three years for those that provide attest activity with a public accounting firm.
Many times you will find a CPA is able to act as a CFO for a smaller company that does not have one on staff. Many times this is very important for many small to mid sized businesses when making decisions in their business and one of the most vital professionals that they can hire.
Also a CPA is a key professional to have with things that happen in life and making the right financial decisions college planning, financial investing, those who are retired, divorce, bankruptcy, Real Estate investing, dealing with estate planning and so much more.
A CPA is someone more than just a professional you use at tax time. They are a KEY person to hire and the Value they provide is great.