Filing Alone vs. Preparer

May 7th 2016

Overview

Tax laws and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) laws can be very complicated. Accountants, consultants, and corporations recognize this obstacle and have created a variety of tools to help people file their taxes correctly and on time.

When you prepare your taxes, you have a variety of resources available to keep you organized and simplify your questions. Using tax preparation software, you can file your taxes within several hours. Many software programs are tailored to assist specific needs. You may wish to use software if you earn rental property income, work from home, are an independent contractor, or have multiple jobs.

If you feel confident and understand the IRS policies and tax laws, you should file your own taxes, with or without software. If you need to submit a simple tax return, you may be able to get by on your own or with free resources online. With TurboTax, you can prepare, print and e-file for free. (For discounts on TurboTax tax preparation, check out these TurboTax Coupons.)

When to Consult a Professional

Ultimately, you are legally responsible for your taxes. It is in your best interest to make sure that you submit your taxes correctly and on time. You don't want to unknowingly commit tax fraud because you may face penalties, interest, or additional charges.

You should consult a certified public accountant (CPA) if you have any doubts or reservations about your taxes. Make sure that you consult a professional when handling your finances when they become complex.

Many professionals firms stand by their services. If a professional makes an error, they will fix it for free and pay interest and penalty fees. By consulting a CPA, you can reduce unnecessary stress and burden.

It is helpful to consult a professional if you have a detailed question. If you are confused or have a specific question, you may have trouble finding answers for free. You should consult a professional if you have a personal question that you cannot resolve on your own.

Savings and Costs

Consulting a CPA will cost you money. Depending on your needs and required services, you may end up spending hundreds of dollars. Regardless, working with a tax preparer may be worth the cost since many people are unaware of the strategies available to maximize tax deductions.

By reducing your taxable income, you can reduce the amount that you owe. The IRS allows deductions including but not limited to:

  • Moving expenses
  • Medical care costs
  • Educational expenses
  • Home office expenses
  • Paid student loan interest
  • Costs related to finding a job

Working with a CPA can help you determine what you are eligible to claim. A professional can also help you keep a detailed record of your expenses if the IRS audits you.

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