"Should I use Turbo Tax to prepare my return or should I hire a tax preparer or CPA?" is perhaps one of the most common questions a CPA receives. The answer is YES and NO. If you have a simple return that contains one W-2 and very little deductions, my answer is, yes. My answer is, yes, if saving money in one year is important to you. HOWEVER, if you own a home, are self-employed, or have other tax-sensitive elements to your finances, it is imperative that you work with a professional. The reality is that although many popular tax software contain almost all of the IRS Tax Code in real-time, they are limited by YOUR understanding of the tax code. Those question & answer prompts will only take you so far. If you want to ensure that you are taking advantage of everything that the tax code was designed for, you need a professional. Turbo Tax does not track your ownership basis in your home and they do not make an effort to get to know you. Although the data is entered year-over-year, software cannot make recommendations CUSTOM FIT to your long-term plan. You leave a lot on the table by not establishing a personal relationship with someone who works toward long-term success. Over time, it will almost always cost you more to do it yourself...
Self-employed individuals and business owners need all the time they can get to concentrate on running the day-to-day operations of their business. Estimated quarterly payments, annual filings, and meeting tax deadlines do not increase your bottom line.
Whether you are a C or S-corp, Partnership, or Sole-proprietor, there are many more things to consider tax-wise that a simple W-2 employee. There are also many areas of the tax code you can take advantage of by simply being a business owner. Some examples:
Annual Tax Planning: The most significant benefit of hiring a CPA, aside from the assurance that your tax return has been prepared properly, is that you have a built-in tax planner. You have an advantage over someone who simply does their taxes in the spring and has NO IDEA what their refund or amount due will look like.
Getting to know each client is very important because often, the small details about you and your family are what make a difference in a well-crafted, long-term tax plan. Its not as simple as plugging in numbers. Some additional services we offer in this area are:
Estate & Gift Planning: "If you won the lottery, who would you give money to?" Wouldn't we all love to have this problem!? Do you realize that if you give a significant gift to some one, YOU may have to pay tax? Are you aware that whatever you leave behind may be taxed at the Federal level and almost certainly at the state level? Believe it or not, Estate tax and Gift tax go hand-in-hand in the tax code. Each area requires concise planning.