Although it isn’t close to tax season yet, it is really never too early to start thinking about your options. As people try to save money and do things on their own they may be tempted to try out the different tax preparation software on the market today and save some cash by not going to an accountant.
However, before you decide if going to the software is really your best option think about the following:
- Basic isn’t always best – the software offered for free or at a very low cost is basic tax preparation software. It is not the same software that is used by your accountant and there are very definite limits on the features that you have access through with the software.
- Questions – while most software has an FAQ section it is often very simplistic and really has to do with how to use the software, not specific tax questions. If you call the hotline offered with some tax software you are not likely to actually speak with a CPA but you will be speaking to a tax preparer. This may provide you with a less than complete answer to a more complex question.
- Past tax filing – when you use an accountant through the years he or she becomes very familiar with your regular deductions and your various 1099s and W-2s and may help you catch an error or omission that may end up causing a delay on your return or, worse case scenario, an audit notice.
- Offers ideas for tax savings – when you have an accountant prepare your taxes she or he will meet with you for a review before e-filing. This allows you a chance to discuss possible options for tax savings for the upcoming tax year.
In addition, working with an accountant is a must if you are self-employed or own a business of any size. These can become very complicated tax returns and making a mistake can end up costing you much more than the cost of an accountant.