Should I Prepare My Own Tax Return:
In these economic times many are looking to save money and I want to help you with that in relation to your tax return and your business information. If you want to save money by filing your own tax return, below you will find some tips from the IRS.
Of course I make my living preparing income tax returns for individuals and businesses but not everyone needs assistance preparing their returns and does not need to pay for it. So if you want to save money by preparing your own return consider your financial situation, the cost of software to prepare your own return, the amount of time it will take you to prepare your return and the value of your time. Also, consider the complexity of your return and stress associated with preparing it. I recommend that you contact me to prepare your return(s) if you have a more complicated return that includes a business, sale of capital assets, rental properties, installment agreements, stock and option transactions, if you are eligible for any credits, etc. Also, if preparing your own return is too stressful for you call me at the number below.
For many spending a half day or more to prepare their own return is not worth it considering the value of their time and for many the process of filing their own return and dealing with the IRS is too stressful. While you may prepare one tax return a year I have prepared hundreds a year for the public for over ten years and I can help you with your return and in dealing with the IRS. As a CPA whose sole focus is preparing tax returns I keep up with tax law changes and the IRS so you do not have to. In many cases each year I help people amend returns they prepared themselves to help them get money back or in other cases cut the amount the IRS indicated they owed by thousands of dollars. Each situation is different but if you want an experienced CPA to prepare your return, look at previous returns or IRS notices please contact me at the phone number or email address below.
Saving Money For Business Owners:
Again, I want to stress the value of considering how much of your time it will cost to prepare your own return and the value of that time. Some business owners loose over a month of work each year and who knows how much revenue by compiling their own revenue and expense information and preparing their own return. Please do not follow that strategy and lose dollars to save pennies. If you have your own business your time is worth much more than what you will pay me to prepare your return. If you need help compiling your revenue and expenses I do not suggest you pay a CPA, like me, to do that for you. In that case you will overpay. I suggest you find a bookkeeper and/or a Quickbooks Proadvisor to do this for you for less money than a CPA would charge and typically they do a better job at bookkeeping. If you want to do the bookkeeping “in house” typically a Quickbooks Proadvisor can provide the training your staff will need and on going support. Again at a much lower rate than a CPA would charge. So if you have been paying a CPA to do your bookkeeping you may have an opportunity to cut your costs. Call me for a free consultation to see if I can help you save some money as I have helped many other business owners.
Other Tax Preparation Businesses:
I am often asked about national tax services that are on close to every block at tax time. Recognize that these tax services primarily make money by getting your refund for you quickly and that is what you pay for. Much like people choose to get pizza at Domino’s not because it is good pizza but because it is fast and people are willing to pay more for it. Likewise the tax chains help you get your refund faster and you will pay more for it if you go that route. Their business is getting your refund quickly not preparing quality and/or complex tax returns. Many times I have seen people pay more for these services than they would pay a CPA just for the benefit of getting a refund quickly. If you have a simple return and need your refund quickly such a service might be the way to go for you. Again, if you have a more complicated return and can wait for a refund, if you have one coming, you are better served having a CPA, like me, prepare your return. Another thing the national tax services typically provide is preparation while you wait which you do not typically find with a CPA who spends more time with more complicated returns. In addition the nationwide tax services typically close most of their offices after tax season while I am available year round. CPAs and national tax services are two totally different services. So choose the service that matches your situation.
If you would like to prepare your own return, I would like to help you. If your return is simple and you do not mind spending some of your time on preparing your return here are some tax tips from the IRS to help you.
IRS Top 10 Tax Time Tips:
IRS TAX TIP 2011-01, January 03, 2011
It’s that time of the year again, the income tax filing season has begun and important tax documents should be arriving in the mail. Even though your return is not due until April, getting an early start will make filing easier. Here are the Internal Revenue Service’s top 10 tips that will help your tax filing process run smoother than ever this year.
1. Start gathering your records Round up any documents or forms you’ll need when filing your taxes: receipts, canceled checks and other documents that support income or deductions you’re claiming on your return.
2. Be on the lookout W-2s and 1099s will be coming soon; you’ll need these to file your tax return.
3. Use Free File: Let Free File do the hard work for you with brand-name tax software or online fillable forms. It’s available exclusively at http://www.irs.gov. Everyone can find an option to prepare their tax return and e-file it for free. If you made $58,000 or less, you qualify for free tax software that is offered through a private-public partnership with manufacturers. If you made more or are comfortable preparing your own tax return, there’s Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic versions of IRS paper forms. Visit www.irs.gov/freefile to review your options.
4. Try IRS e-file: After 21 years, IRS e-file has become the safe, easy and most common way to file a tax return. Last year, 70 percent of taxpayers – 99 million people – used IRS e-file. Starting in 2011, many tax preparers will be required to use e-file and will explain your filing options to you. This is your chance to give it a try. IRS e-file is approaching 1 billion returns processed safely and securely. If you owe taxes, you have payment options to file immediately and pay by the tax deadline. Best of all, combine e-file with direct deposit and you get your refund in as few as 10 days.
5. Consider other filing options There are many different options for filing your tax return.You can prepare it yourself or go to a tax preparer.You may be eligible for free face-to-face help at an IRS office or volunteer site.Give yourself time to weigh all the different options and find the one that best suits your needs.
6. Consider Direct DepositIf you elect to have your refund directly deposited into your bank account, you’ll receive it faster than waiting for a paper check.
7. the IRS website again and again The official IRS website is a great place to find everything you’ll need to file your tax return: forms, publications, tips, answers to frequently asked questions and updates on tax law changes.
8. Remember this number: 17Check out IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax on the IRS website. It’s a comprehensive collection of information for taxpayers highlighting everything you’ll need to know when filing your return.
9. Review! Review! Review!Don’t rush. We all make mistakes when we rush.Mistakes will slow down the processing of your return. Be sure to double-check all the Social Security Numbers and math calculations on your return as these are the most common errors made by taxpayers.
10. Don’t panic! If you run into a problem, remember the IRS is here to help. Try http://www.irs.gov or call toll-free at 800-829-1040.
For assistance from a CPA to prepare your tax returns give call me or email me today for a free consultation at:
Jeff Haywood, CPA
I prepare the following types of tax returns:
Federal and State Returns
Also, I am available for tax planning and discussions about business, retirement planning and life goals.
For more US income tax content see the following links:
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What Business Deductions Can I Take as an Employee? IRS Tax Tips.
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6 IRS Tax Tips for Self-Employed Individuals
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As always keep in mind that the content provide on this site is general in nature and may or may not apply to your particular case. It is best to check with a tax professional about your circumstances and what is best for you personally. Also, IRS regulations and tax laws are constantly changing and the information on this site is not constantly updated. Again please check with me about your particular circumstances and what will be best in your situation at the given time and law.
This article was written by Jeff Haywood, CPA.
Jeff is a licensed CPA in both Texas and Illinois.
He has prepared income tax returns for the public for over 10 years.
He also has an MBA in Finance from Loyola University in Chicago and he has 24 years experience in Corporate Finance and Business Analysis.