Resist the Urge to Do Your Own Taxes
I always find it amazing when I hear that so many people prepare and file their own tax returns.
I mean, honestly, there are so many other things we can tinker with and do ourselves that don’t require ongoing, intensive education and, which can have such a potentially devastating impact on our lives. I admit that I get a thrill when I am able to make minor repairs around my house. But when it comes to major repairs or electricity and plumbing, I leave that to the experts.
Why Not Be A Do-It-Yourself Dentist?
Now, I’d be willing to go out on a limb here and say that most taxpayers don’t attempt to do the work of their dentist, doctor or hairstylist. I’ve never heard that massive numbers of people have taken to cleaning their own teeth or cutting their own hair. Yet there are some 30 million Americans who prepared and filed their own tax returns from home computers last year. The trend seems to be increasing according to a survey conducted by GoBankingRates.com. That’s 43% of Americans.
According to the survey it was reported that, “A ‘digital tax-prep tool’ is the most popular option among tax filers, with more than a third … of survey respondents saying this is the method they use.” One reason cited is that, “Tax-filing software is a popular option most likely due to the lower costs associated with filing digitally, as well as the ease of using a program to automate calculations and file online.”
I only suggest preparing your own tax returns if you are a CPA or Enrolled Agent.
If your tax returns are simple, meaning you have one job, get one W-2 form and have absolutely no deductions, you could fill out a digital form and submit your own returns. Otherwise, you might as well go ahead and invest in some professional dental equipment too!
Topic Motivated by Hurricane Matthew
I know this is kind of an off-season topic. The reason I bring it up is because many people in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia who have filed for extensions got another extension complements of Hurricane Matthew. In my experience, people who prepare and file their own tax returns are the ones who most often require extensions and are the ones who most often find themselves in IRS trouble. They end up coming to our firm to help them get out from under IRS scrutiny when they’ve made mistakes.
Benefits of Using a Reputable Tax Professional
I’m amazed that so many people do their own tax returns for the simple reason that taxpayers who use a reputable tax professional typically get more money back from the IRS. There are plenty of reasons why working with a pro can result in a higher refund, but it mostly boils down to tax know-how. An experienced tax professional can keep you from making the mistakes that cost millions of taxpayers nearly $1 billion in overpaid taxes every year. The size of your refund check is not even the most compelling reason to work with a professional. Consider the time you save, literally hours and hours are required to research the tax codes and fill out tax forms. And the tax codes can change from year to year. And, biggest of all is that when you work with a reputable tax professional and provide honest information, you steer clear of IRS troubles.