We are right in the peak of the tax season. The looming April 15th deadline is coming around the corner quickly. Are you still considering which way to go whether to use a local CPA or wing it with an online tax program?
Filing your taxes is no longer an easy task with all of the big changes in the current tax laws, the diversity with each person or businesses’ tax situation, financial considerations, your level of tax knowledge and expertise, etc.
So, which method is best for which taxpayer – hiring a CPA or filing your taxes online with a tax program? Before you make your decision, here are some considerations to look at for your particular situation.
Online tax program
Here are some issues that will cause significant frustration and possible errors and reduction in the dollar amount of your tax return.
Troubleshooting and technical support
With most people preparing their taxes, there will need to be some trouble troubleshooting and the need for technical support to answer questions regarding your specific variables. Unfortunately, you may not receive that online help to get a clear cut answer that is best for you. You are left guessing or wondering if your answer was correct or best for you.
Dealing with multiple individuals
A major issue with relying on online communication is having to deal with a new person each time you call in to ask for technical support so the consistency is not there. You will have to waste time re-explaining your situation or finding the person knowledgeable about your specific question.
The call center or personnel that may help you with your issue or question does not always have consistent training in all of the areas that you need help in. This will not only be frustrating to deal with, but could cost you some major savings in filing your return if they are not aware of a law or situation in your business and/or industry.
Tax software is not a guaranteed fail-safe way to file your taxes.
“A common misconception or incorrect assumption is that tax software will automatically prepare a correct tax return, but that’s only if the preparer understands their tax documents and their tax status. Tax software is great, as long as you enter the right info. However, it’s relying on you to be the tax expert. If it’s garbage in, it’s garbage out,” according to Randall Brody, an enrolled agent (IRS expert) with Tax Samaritan.
Hiring a CPA
If you select to hire a quality CPA to file your taxes, here is what you can expect?
Troubleshooting and technical support
You have complete access to your CPA and their office by phone, in-person and via email. No guessing or holding on for hours with a call center.
The benefit of working with one CPA is that you will have that consistent person and their office to work with you. They will be knowledgeable about your situation and can respond quickly. No wasted time of repeating your question each time with a different person.
Highly trained personnel
A CPA is certified and has ongoing CPU requirements so they know the changing laws, they know the different types of business structures and they have standardized training from a National source. You can trust that you will have the best return with the optimum outcome.
Tax strategy and planning
Something you will not receive from a tax program is the ability to do long term planning and put in place a strategy for you as an individual and/or to incorporate your business. During the year you will take strategic steps based on this planning. A CPA will work with you as a team on your behalf for the best outcome.
With the changing laws and complex compliance issues, it is extremely important to have a CPA that you can trust and ask about issues as they come up. It is highly recommended that you file your taxes with experienced help.
Joshua Wilson, CPA, PC is a full-service public accounting firm that specializes in accounting, tax preparation, tax planning, & business development for small businesses in Winder, GA and the surrounding areas. Give Joshua a call today to set up a consultation at 770-856-1309 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.