Tax Strategies & Credits
Preparing Your Own Tax Return May Not Be Wise
When tax time rolls around and you find yourself anticipating the annual tax preparation expense, it can be very tempting to try to prepare your own taxes and save some money. After all, there are loads of very popular, very inexpensive tax preparation software packages around. If other people are using them, why shouldn't you? There are some very significant reasons why preparing your own tax return can lead to you losing the tax benefits you're owed, paying more than you need to, and even ending up owing the IRS interest and penalties. All of the savings that you realized could be lost in a flash, with nobody to blame and nobody to help you out.
Taxes Get More Complicated
Tax preparation has become more and more complicated as years have gone by. No matter how much politicians may claim that they are going to reform the tax code and make it simpler, every year's filings have become more complicated as a result of the introduction of new laws that have a direct impact on them. The tax preparation software developers certainly do their best to keep up with all of the regulations and revisions, but the truth is that the laws change on a constant basis, and it is easy to miss them in the rush to get the new tax packages out each year. This is especially true of tax prep packages that are inexpensive.
As tax professionals, we purchase extremely expensive, extremely sophisticated software packages, and even when we are using them we still rely on our knowledge of tax law and our daily updates on what is going on in the tax code. It's no wonder why those who do not have these benefits, and who rely on inexpensive software, end up missing out on so many tax advantages.
The Tax Benefits You May Be Missing
When you use a tax preparation professional, you do more then give yourself the enhanced possibility of saving some tax dollars through credits, real estate tax planning, deductions, and other advantages that they provide. You also avoid the aggravation and stress that comes from filing a return that incorrectly offers you a refund that is more than you're owed, and then having to face an IRS review or audit in the future. People who need the refund the most are often the ones that make the mistake of relying on this inexpensive software, and it is extremely challenging for them to learn that the decision they made out of a desire to save money left them in debt to the IRS a few years later. Worse still, when this kind of mistake happens when you prepare your own taxes, you have nobody to whom you can turn for assistance, explanation, or a way to negotiate yourself out of trouble.
Professional tax preparation services are staffed by people who dedicate themselves to understanding the tax regulations specifically so that they can provide the most benefit to their clients. Doesn't it make sense to put your tax return into the hands of a skilled pro who can not only ensure that your taxes are done the right way, but can also guide you through important decisions on retirement and financial planning?
Based in Rhinelander, WI, Marge Cook has been a Tax and Accounting professional for 8 years. She specializes in small businesses and is certified as an Accounting Services Professional, Professional Bookkeeper, Professional Tax Preparer, and a QuickBooks ProAdvisor. Prior to starting Custom Accounting Services, she worked in Management at both McDonalds and Walmart.
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