Are you thinking of filing your tax return on your own?
Taxes often seem straightforward until you sit down to do them. But then you’re drowning in tax documents and pulling your hair out trying to figure out what information goes where.
If you’re asking yourself, “Should I hire someone to do my taxes?” you likely have tax situations that make your return more complicated. Most people benefit from hiring someone to do their taxes for many reasons, not just in complicated situations.
Keep reading to learn our five reasons to hire someone to do your taxes.
1. Tax Laws Are Complicated
Do you have time to study the tax law changes every year? Most people don’t.
But professional tax preparers make it their jobs to know all of the details of the tax laws.
They know exactly what the rules are for different tax deductions. They know how complicated situations affect taxes.
Having that knowledge on your side can improve your tax return results. Your tax pro may help decrease your tax liability if you owe by finding you more deductions. Or they may help you get a larger refund.
Finding those extra deductions may pay for the fees you pay to have your taxes prepared.
The extensive tax law knowledge also helps prevent mistakes on your return. Taking a deduction you don’t qualify for or otherwise making a mistake on your taxes can cost you.
The IRS can hit you with major penalties for falsifying the information on your tax returns. That includes taking deductions you don’t qualify for and entering inaccurate amounts for things such as charitable contributions and business expenses.
Having a pro do your taxes increases the accuracy and ensures you don’t take deductions you don’t qualify to take. You’ll save yourself major headaches down the road by doing your taxes the right way.
2. It Saves You Time
How much is your time worth to you? You may save money when you file your own taxes, but you’re costing yourself a lot of time.
If you’re not a numbers person, taxes likely don’t come easily to you.
Plus, the process just takes time. You have to sort all of your documents and gather any extra information.
Then, you have to figure out how and where to enter it on the tax forms.
Even if you use tax preparation software that walks you through it, you’ll spend more time than you want doing your taxes.
When you have your taxes done, you hand over your info, answer a few questions, and let your tax pro do the work. It’s much easier for you.
Since tax preparers complete returns for a living, they know how to do the work quickly. They can finish your return in much less time than you can.
3. Some Situations Make Taxes Tricky
If you don’t take many deductions and have a very basic, straightforward tax return, you may be okay to do them on your own.
But most people have at least one or two situations that make their taxes more complex. It makes the return more complicated and increases your chances of making a mistake.
You’ll benefit from hiring a tax pro with the following tax situations:
- Self-employed or small business owner
- High income
- A home sale or purchase
- Borrowing money from a retirement account
- Major life events
- Major changes in your financial situation
- Lots of investments
- Large inheritance
Almost any change can affect your tax situation. If you’re unsure how to handle certain situations on your taxes, it’s always best to hire someone.
If you have a specific situation, such as a foreclosure or lots of major investments, look for a tax professional with experience in that situation. Someone with extensive hands-on experience is better equipped to prepare your taxes correctly and get you the best possible results based on the situation.
4. You Get Professional Advice
If you do a paper return, there’s no one there to answer your questions and give you advice.
Even using tax software limits the feedback you get. The program might offer some additional explanations for certain parts of the return, but it won’t give you personalized advice.
When you hire someone to do your taxes, you can ask as many questions as you have about your situation. Your tax preparer can explain different parts of the tax process, such as why you don’t qualify for a certain deduction.
Tax pros can provide advice on the best way to handle different situations. That comes in handy not just for the current year but also for future years.
If you’re self-employed, your preparer might help you create a strategy that improves your tax situation next year. They might help you calculate quarterly payments or better track your expenses for increased deductions.
You can also reach out to the tax pro throughout the year. They become your go-to person for all things taxes.
5. Tax Pros Back You Up in an Audit
Your chances of being audited are pretty slim. For 2017, the IRS only audited 0.5% of tax returns, which is about 1 million returns.
But if you do get picked for an audit, it can be scary. If you do your own taxes, you don’t have anyone to help you through the audit.
If you have a pro do your taxes, you have that person to help you through the audit. Your tax pro should offer IRS audit representation for you.
Your tax preparer can help you gather the necessary documentation requested by the IRS. In many cases, they handle all interactions with the IRS so you don’t have to.
That support can make an otherwise stressful situation much easier to handle.
Get Your Taxes Done
It may seem like doing your taxes yourself is the smartest option, but having them prepared by a tax pro has definite benefits. You could end up saving more money than you spend on having professional preparation done.
Schedule your tax preparation to take the stress out of tax season this year.