How to Get Your Money’s Worth by Choosing the Right Tax Preparer

Calculator with text "Tax Time" on tax forms and money. Business concept.
Having the right tax preparer at your service has numerous advantages. It can save you thousands of tax dollars. Tax experts are adept at finding critical information from your financial statements and reports and using them to your favor. They are experienced and have the ability to look beyond the obvious and offer value to your business. However, if you do not conduct research about the tax preparer, you may end up choosing the wrong one, which could be disastrous.

You don’t really need a high-end CPA who charges $200/hour for filing a simple return that has few ambiguities. However, you do need a tax preparer who is reputable and experienced enough to carry out this task. To get the most out of your money in the long run, below are some tips to get you on the way to choosing the correct way to file your taxes

File Free through the IRS

A free filing service is available at your convenience where you can file your returns without any cost. There are e-file services available online that can be used to fill out the necessary information and submit it electronically. This service is a partnership between the IRS and tax software companies. For individuals who have pretty simple financials, using an e-file service is easy and accessible from everywhere. Also, taxpayers who have a gross income of less than $57000 can use bookkeeping software that can also calculate their tax returns free of cost. The file can then simply be submitted through the same e-file.

Do It Yourself

Do it yourself is one of the most popular and cost-saving methods to filing your tax returns. Many software tax preparation programs are specifically designed for this purpose and they are easy to use. The software guides you through each step, highlights the inaccuracies and audits the document with red flags. These software services are not very expensive. You can get them online for $10 – $40.

Doing the returns yourself obviously has its advantages as you can save money. However, businesses must consult a professional if there are any complications. Some DIY software also comes with a helpline that can be contacted for queries. A DIY tax preparation service will typically cater to all common items such as mortgages, student loans, and charitable deductions. Anyone that has basic tax knowledge can figure out a way to perform the job.

Use a Storefront Tax Service

For some people, the DIY option may sound like too much of a burden. An alternative is to use a storefront tax service. The taxing code keeps on changing regularly and more than 3,500 changes have been observed in the past 18 years and that does not include changes from the latest tax reforms that were recently passed by the government. Therefore, clients may need face to face help in order to get some answers to their concerns. A personalized guidance from the right tax preparer is exactly what some clients want, which prompts them to use storefront services.

The role of a tax preparer should be quite dynamic and not just limited to data input. If they are not adding any value to your tax returns by thoroughly analyzing your financial information and using every possible deduction, they might not be the right choice for you. Someone who actually puts an effort in to educate you about possible tax deductions in accordance with your situation is a tax preparer who can be trusted.

A storefront service might not be able to help you a if you have to file tax returns for a developed business with multiple areas of concern. However, any common tax issue is easily handled by these companies.

Hire an Enrolled Agent

Getting your money’s worth also means that there are no discrepancies in your filed returns and you have managed to considerably reduce your tax bill through all legal channels. Finding a competent individual who can do this task can be a challenge. A proper tax preparer in this situation would be an enrolled agent. These individuals are endorsed by the National Association of Enrolled Agents and have the expertise and knowledge to manage your tax returns, offer you tax advice, and represent you in an audit. Individuals and couples who want to diminish the anxiety related to the possibility of being audited alone should consult an enrolled agent.

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