Why should I hire a Tax Pro?
Preparing your own taxes can be a daunting task. You have to wade through tax records and and receipts. That can be frustrating and eat up more hours that you have to devote to it. What are the new rules and regulations you ask yourself? Where do I find the answers I need to get this done?
But you don’t have to go it alone. Professional tax preparers are paid to keep up with the tax code and their expertise can help ensure that you get all the deductions and credits you are eligible to receive.
Here are the top 10 reasons why you may want to hire a professional tax professional:
- It can save you money. If your tax preparer finds even one deduction or tax credit you may have missed, it can easily exceed the fee it costs to have a professional prepare your return.
- It saves you time. The Internal Revenue Service reports that it takes nearly 20 hours to complete the average tax return with deductions. Your time is worth money. How much is it worth to you to get that time back?
- Tax professionals can answer your questions and resolve issues. It’s very likely you will have questions about your taxes. Calling the IRS means you could be on hold for hours. Tax professionals can answer most of these instantly.
- The tax code is very complicated. Professional tax preparers keep up with it and all those changes each and every year so you don’t have to.
- You gain peace of mind. Just knowing that a professional is handling your taxes reduces stress.
- Making mistakes can be very costly. In terms of missed deductions or triggering an IRS letter or audit; a tax professional can help eliminate errors and ensure your returns are prepared correctly.
- You benefit with money-saving tax planning. Tax professionals can advise you now and all year round on the best strategies to make smart tax-saving decisions.
- Your previous returns can be also reviewed. A tax professional can look at your past returns to see if any deductions were missed and, if so, amend them for you.
- You can reduce your risk of an audit. And, if you are audited or the IRS starts asking questions you can’t easily answer, a professional tax preparer knows how to deal with the IRS.
- It takes the hassle out of doing it yourself.
If you plan to hire a tax professional to prepare your taxes, you do need to gather and organize your records, including W-2 forms, 1099 forms, mortgage and bank statements, charitable contributions, and so forth. Being organized saves your tax preparer time and keeps the fees down.
Things you need to Know
1. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires all paid tax preparers to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), so make sure your tax preparer has one enters it on your return. Paid preparers must sign returns and include their PTIN as required by law. The preparer must also give you a copy of the return.
2. Beware of and avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund or those who say they can get larger refunds than others can.
3. Never sign a blank return. Don’t use a tax preparer who asks you to sign an incomplete or blank tax form.
4. Refunds should always come to you, not the tax preparer. Always make sure any refund due is sent to you or deposited into your bank account. Taxpayers should not deposit their refund into a preparer’s bank account.
5. Do not rely on a preparer who is willing to e-file your return using your last pay stub instead of your Form W-2. This is against IRS e-file rules.
6. Review your return before signing. Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions if something is not clear. Make sure you’re comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign it.
And remember the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!” If you suspect tax fraud, visit the IRS web page that deals with this issue. It’s also a good idea to check the preparer’s history. You can check with the Better Business Bureau to find out if a preparer has a questionable history. Check for disciplinary actions and the license status for credentialed preparers. For CPAs, check with the State Board of Accountancy. For attorneys, check with the State Bar Association. For Enrolled Agents, and other licensed tax professionals go to the IRS website at www.irs.gov.