Tax season is here and it seems like everyone is soliciting you to let them do their taxes. Before you rush to get your taxes done there is a few important things that you should know. You do not want to leave a tax as important as tax filing to an unqualified candidate. You should only seek tax advice from a Certified Public Accountant. Your tax filing decisions should be based on valid information.
The Flaws of Franchise Tax Services
Not everyone offering to do your taxes is a Certified Public Accountant. There are several services that hire and train to use software that simply walks them through the process of filing your taxes. Often these services charge a substantially larger amount than a CPA. They do offer attractive incentives such as audit representation. Some even offer you money upfront. But beware these services often charge you several hundred dollars more than other services.
Save Money with Software
Similar software is available online and you could save hundreds of dollars by preparing your taxes yourself. The software guides you through everything. You will be going through the same steps that the "tax specialist" would be doing otherwise. This is a great option for those who are confident enough to file their own taxes but just need a little guidance.
Tax Laws Change Annually
Even CPA's have to keep up with the changing laws. You should make it a priority to be aware of any new tax laws. You could be eligible for new deductions. The IRS makes changes and updates every year. If you are filing your own taxes you should be aware of changes. If you have a question then you need to get advice from a CPA.
Save your receipts for three years.
It might be appealing to discard your paperwork and receipts from last year, but do not fall into temptation. The IRS can audit can go back as far as three years. You might not feel that you are at risk for an audit but it is better to be prepared.
Nothing is more valuable than experience
CPA's are knowledgeable in finances and bookkeeping. It is always best to use a Certified Public Accountant when possible. CPA's often offer reasonable rates and can offer valuable advice. Software can never surpass the genius of human knowledge. Trained tax specialists may have enough knowledge to find valuable deductions and use software to file your taxes correctly but they often do not have the skills to help with complicated situations.