Should You Hire Someone To Help With Your Taxes?
Some tax payers are happy to file their own returns, while others rely on help from tax professionals, and the choice is entirely subjective. Those who enjoy working with numbers, are organized and efficient enough to file in a timely manner, may well get away with filing their own returns, but for those who hate number crunching and are disorganized or simply too busy to file on time, seeking professional help is probably the most sensible choice. There are also the new tax laws and regulations to take into consideration, meaning that seeking help from a tax pro may be wiser than ever:
Changes to the tax code:
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) came into effect back in January of last year, with some sweeping changes to the tax code causing many headaches for tax payers. Even if you considered yourself to be aux fait with your own taxes in previous years, filing is almost always going to be different for most people, due to the new tax code, and keeping up with changes to the laws can be mind boggling. If itemized deductions are a high priority for you, then you will benefit from some professional advice and guidance when filing this year.
Weighing up the cost factor:
It goes without saying that if you prepare your own taxes, you won’t have to pay yourself, you can even use tax software to help ensure that you get it right with minimal fuss, further reducing the cost. However, one error on your return can result in a costly penalty, and should you be chosen for an audit, you won’t have the benefit of a tax professional to help you out. Not only that but planning and preparing your own taxes can take up a lot of time, and if you’re a busy person with a small business, large family or simply a hectic schedule, finding the time to collate all the relevant information and fill in the forms, can be tricky. In fact, the IRS estimates that the average person needs around 13 hours to prepare a tax return, and imagine how much longer you would need if your tax circumstances are complex?
Hiring a tax professional:
Getting your tax return right and not facing the full force of the IRS and hefty penalties, is a priority for most US citizens, and the best way of ensuring that things run smoothly each tax filing time, is to pay a tax expert to help you. However, don’t just opt for the first one listed in the results of your search; ask friends and family for recommendations and be sure to check the credentials of any potential tax professionals that you find. Depending on the complexity of your circumstances, they will need to have the relevant experience and knowledge to get the best out of your return, and some may specialize in certain businesses or individuals, such as those who live overseas or are self-employed.
Enrolled agents (EA’s) and Certified Public Accountants (CPA’s) are two of the most popular professional credentials that a tax preparer can hold, and they are both trained in a wide range of accounting procedures. Always try to select a reputable firm or individual, and don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions before you begin paying them.