The Pros and Cons of Professional Tax Preparation

w4, w9 tax form with money on desk.
When it comes to your income taxes, a major decision you are required to make is determining whether you should get a professional to do your tax preparation or try doing it yourself or use an automatic tax preparation software for it. It can be a good idea to hand over things to a professional however, it has its cons. Here are some of the pros and cons of getting a professional to do your tax preparation:

Pros of Professional Tax Preparation

The Fees may be Deductible in Some Cases

It is important to be aware of the possibility that your professional tax preparation fees can be deducted on your income tax return if you satisfy certain requirements. The fee for tax preparation is regarded as a miscellaneous deduction and you can report it on the IRS Tax Form 1040 Schedule A.

For example, you can deduct things like the mileage you drove to meet with your tax preparer and the postage of mailing documents to them (including the postage of mailing your tax return to the state tax agency and the IRS). You may also be able to deduct the cost of a book you purchased regarding the new tax regulations to help you in filing the return. You can also get any fee you were charged for e-filing your tax return online deducted.

It is essential to be aware that the fees for tax preparation are considered miscellaneous deductions. For this reason, in order to claim the tax break, you are required to itemize your deductions.

Moreover, before your miscellaneous deductions are subtracted on your income tax return, they must surpass 2% of your AGI (Adjusted Gross Income).

It will Save You Money and Time

Accuracy and convenience are two of the most important benefits of hiring a professional to prepare your taxes. You can save a significant amount of time by not having to go through and try to comprehend the form instructions, news releases, and publications provided by the IRS. Even time has monetary value; the time you end up spending working on your tax return alone may cost you more than employing a tax professional’s services.

It is possible to make a lot of errors when filing your tax forms; the services of a tax professional can help you reduce those mistakes. They can also properly identify all tax deductions and/or tax credits you are suitable for to ensure that you do not end up overpaying taxes.

If you are thinking of using a tax preparation software, it is important to be aware that it is not going to take your specific circumstances into account (like your losses and capital gains). Since most  tax preparation software options are created for individuals who do not have very complex tax situations, it may not be a good option for taxpayers with complicated finances.

Another benefit of professional tax preparation is that, unlike the software, you are provided with a guaranteed representation against a possible tax audit.

Cons of Professional Tax Preparation

You may Encounter Scams – Be Vigilant When Choosing a Tax Professional

You should keep a few things in mind when hiring a tax professional. To begin, you should not delay scheduling an appointment until the last moment. Most of the best accountants near you will most likely have waiting lists. Your options are going be limited if you try to get in touch with an accountant when your return is due in a few days.

Secondly, similar to how you would handle hiring an employee, remember to check the references of the tax professional. Ask for recommendations from friends and family. Another good indicator is testimonials and reviews given by happy clients. Make sure to be vigilant of anyone who may have a license that the IRS no longer considers valid.

It Might Cost Too Much

Cost is one of the major drawbacks of hiring someone to prepare and file your return. The price of professional tax preparation is going be more, especially if your tax situation is comparatively complicated. It is also going to cost you more if you require both your state and federal tax returns to be professionally prepared.

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