• Lela Countryman

Do I Need a Tax Preparer? And Tips to Finding One

The choice to do your own taxes or to hire a tax preparer can be a challenging choice. For me, I have always been one to do my own taxes and I always loved doing it….hence the reason I do it for others now too. Over the last several years there has been many changes to our tax code that have made many taxpayers ready to consult with a professional to ensure they are getting the most out of these new codes. When a tax preparer is the best option, there is the added challenge of finding the best one. Here are some points to think about when deciding whether you should hire a tax preparer and some tips to find the best one for you.

If you have a simple financial situation then preparing your own taxes should be fairly easy with a tax software. If all you have to do is enter your personal information and enter in your W-2 and maybe a few other 1099’s for interest earned, then filing your own taxes will be straightforward. However if you doubt that you are handling any aspect of your taxes it might be a good idea to hire a professional.

It may be a good idea to hire a tax preparer if:

· Your marital status recently changed.

· You have experienced another major life change such as the birth of a child, getting a new job, losing a job, or graduating college.

· You own rental property.

· You sold investments.

· You started a business.

If hiring a tax preparer makes sense for you, here are several tips to find the best one for you:

1. Ensure they have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). The IRS requires anyone who prepares or assists in preparing federal tax returns for payment to have a PTIN.

2. Compare fees. Beware of hidden fees. Many preparers charge by form and not a flat rate. Fees can add up quickly.

3. Confirm that the return will be signed by your tax preparer.

4. Work with a preparer that gives you a timeline for completion and sticks to it.

There are many options when it comes to preparing taxes and I hope this helped give you some idea on where to begin and if a tax preparer is right for you. Not every tax preparer is the same so do your research in finding one that best suits your needs.

Last week we talked about the documents you may need for tax time, you can check that out here. Next week we will be talking all things business budgets.

If you are looking for a tax preparer, The Countryman Group is accepting new clients. You can always find more information about us at our website.

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