Paying a professional to prepare your taxes can get a little pricey, at times, particularly if you have numerous deductions that require a pile of forms. Many pros charge by the form, and, even those who cite a flat rate might charge more than you were prepared to pay.
But, the fee you pay can be deducted off your next year’s return, and the service you get from a professional far outweighs the troubles you could encounter should you decide to prepare your own taxes.
So, the next time you decide to pick up a tax form or contemplate spending several hours of your day online, Dan Andrews, co-owner of Andrews Lemek Tax Services, LLC, recommends asking yourself these important questions:
Have I considered all the possible deductions?
You may have a pretty good idea of what deductions you should claim, but a professional can sit down with you and take the time to ask the right questions. This is especially helpful to people who own their own business. For example, do you work from home? Do you host business lunches? Do you do a lot of business-related travel? Most folks aren’t sure what they can claim, especially when cell phones and computers are used for both business and pleasure.
What if I am audited?
Professional tax preparers know the criteria involved in a tax audit and they know how to handle it. If you prepare and file your own tax return, you’re on your own. But, if you hire a professional, you can be sure they will stand behind their work and address the audit on your behalf. Having a professional stamp on your tax return could actually act as a type of insurance, alerting the government agent that your tax preparer is an expert in the field.
Have I kept up on the latest tax rules?
According to msn.com, the tax code is so complicated; more than 60 percent of Americans have professionals do their tax returns. And, no wonder. The tax code has seen major changes in 45 of the past 48 years, the site states.
With so many changes popping up year after year, it’s difficult for the average tax payer to keep up. Professionals, however, never stop studying their trade. They attend conferences, receive online reports and share information with colleagues. Changes in tax laws are simply an accepted part of their daily work.
Do I know what forms I need and what records I should submit?
For some individuals, a simple short form suffices. But, if you’re one of those folks who have a long list of deductions, do you know what forms and sub-forms you might need? A professional will have all of them at his fingertips. For him, it simply means opening a drawer or calling up the right file on his computer.
How much time can I allow to do my own tax return?
According to msn.com, in 2011, the IRS estimated that the average taxpayer needed 23 hours to do his or her 2010 return. With that in mind, can you justify spending all that time on your tax return? It may be worth your while to spend a few dollars to get your taxes done and have them done right.
Do I understand all the IRS terminology?
Some IRS forms can be as complicated as reading the fine print on a mortgage document. Most people hire lawyers to do that, so why would anyone struggle through the tax lingo when a professional already understands it? Don’t fall prey to a possible audit simply because you didn’t understand what the government stated on a tax form.
A well-trained staff at Andrews Lemek can help you through the process of making out a tax return. Whether you are a senior with special needs or a young person finishing your first year on the job, Andrews Lemek tax preparers have more than ten years experience and can handle all your needs. In addition to preparing income tax returns, the firm also can help with other business services. For information, call (352) 351-8833.