Taxes can be complicated. As we all have experienced, filing them correctly and on time every year can be stressful. And doing it all yourself can be downright overwhelming!
You have to gather all of the correct information, fill out forms properly, and try to make sure your math is correct. You also are never really sure if you’ve taken advantage of every deduction or credit. Everyone knows the penalties for not doing your taxes are high, but the costs of doing them wrongly can be just as bad! Then, on top of everything else, you’ll never get back the time you spend on it all.
Why Should You Hire a Tax Professional?
- You’ll avoid expensive mistakes.
- You’ll don’t have to learn tax laws or recent changes.
- You’ll have someone who can help you plan throughout the year.
- You’ll have someone to answer questions and recommend ways to save.
- You’ll experience less hassle and more peace of mind.
But more importantly: you’ll save money!
A professional tax preparer eats and breathes tax law in such a way that they can help you find every deduction and credit you qualify for…many of which you may not even know about. 9 times out of 10, they will save you much more than the cost of their services.
How Do You Find a Good Tax Professional?
In the world of taxes, you can easily stumble into trouble if you aren’t paying attention to who you choose to prepare your returns. Always take time to learn about a tax professional before you do business with them. After all, this is your hard-earned money we’re talking about!
Look for tax professionals who have proper credentials. At a minimum, the IRS requires all tax preparers to obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Anyone who has one can file your taxes for you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re working with the best.
There are different levels of skill among tax professionals, and you will benefit by making sure you vet them out properly. A good one will either be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Enrolled Agent (EA), or Attorney specializing in tax preparation and planning.
In order to qualify for these certifications, a tax professional will have taken a certain amount of continuing education courses each year, passed the appropriate exams, and agreed to a code of ethics.
Stay away from people who require you to pay them a percentage of your return or sign a blank return. Your refunds should always go to you, not the person who prepared your taxes.
Contact the IRS if you suspect that you have been a victim of tax fraud in any way.
What Questions Should You Ask Your Tax Professional?
To get the most out of working with a professional when filing your taxes, it is important that you fully understand what they are doing…even if the “nuts and bolts” of the process are over your head. Since you are ultimately in charge of your money, make sure you ask lots of questions. (A good tax professional won’t mind at all.)
Here are a few:
- Do you offer free consultations?
- How long have you been in business?
- What do you do to keep up with current changes to tax laws?
- Who will be preparing my return? You or someone else in your office?
- How do you decide what to charge for preparing my return? An hourly rate or a flat fee?
- How much will it cost to have you prepare my return?
- When can I expect to have my return completed?
- How long will you store my information? And how?
- Are you available if I have questions afterward or if I get audited?
CRS Side Note:
New for the 2020 Tax Season, we are introducing SafeSend™, a secure online feature giving you the ability to review and sign your returns electronically. Through SafeSend™, you no longer need to make multiple trips to our offices during the tax filing process. You can safely view, sign, and download your forms from any device.
SafeSend™ is not the same as e-filing. Once you electronically sign your returns, CRS CPA will still complete the process of submitting them to the IRS for you.
Learn more about SafeSend™ on our site by clicking here.
Is Hiring a Professional Tax Preparer Worth It?
When you consider the value of knowing that one of the biggest parts of your financial life is being handled well by a qualified professional who is able to save you more money than they cost, it’s worth it.
When you can use the time you would have spent preparing your own taxes to focus on your business and family instead, it’s worth it.
And when you can partner with a professional who can deliver peace of mind along with your completed return, it’s worth it.
Trust CRS CPAs.
The tax experts at CRS CPAs have been handling tax returns big and small for clients from all walks of life for over 40 years. We would love to talk with you about taking care of your taxes this year, too.
Contact a tax professional at one of our six locations across West Tennessee today.