It’s that time of year again – tax season! For some, it’s a fun time of year because they expect a refund that will fuel their vacation stash or pay off some credit card debt. But for others, it can feel more stressful and overwhelming than anything else. The truth is, taxes are extremely complex and navigating them correctly typically makes people nervous whether you anticipate a return or not.
If you’re like most of us, when you feel in the dark about something, you take the path of least resistance to solve the problem. With taxes that usually looks like jumping onto a service like TurboTax in the privacy of your own home, answering a few questions and taking what you can get for a return (if you get one). The ultimate goal tends to be getting the whole thing over with as quickly as possible. But we all know that taking the easy way out is rarely the best choice and taxes are no different. Here’s why.
1 | An accountant can maximize your refund.
Aka, keep more money in your pocket and out of Uncle Sam’s. One of the biggest gripes around hiring an accountant to file your personal taxes is the cost compared to the smaller fee associated with self-filing software like TurboTax. The reality is, the tax software is asking broad sweeping questions but not looking at you as a person or a family to maximize the results. Having us in your corner means that we will put all of our tax savvy skills to work on your return like a puzzle to find you ways of maximizing that refund. You can bet TurboTax doesn’t do that. 99% of the time, our clients get more money back than they would with TurboTax – enough that it covers the service cost and then some. Meaning, you net more in the end.
2 | You’ll gain peace of mind that your taxes were done correctly by working with experienced tax professional.
We recently met with a new client who was thinking it was time to hire an accountant for the first time instead of using TurboTax. She had always gotten decent tax returns but felt like she didn’t understand the process. When she sat with us and brought in documentation of the previous year’s TurboTax record, we saw she had filed as a Massachusetts resident – not New Hampshire where she lives and work. She was a little baffled by how this could happen after entering her personal and employer information – but somehow it did. TurboTax isn’t going to catch mistakes, provide clarification or offer advice for what’s best for you and your family. For peace of mind that you got the most money back while filing correctly – you need a professional who has your back.
3 | Accountants can answer your tax questions and help with tax planning year-round, not just during tax season.
Often people don’t think too much about taxes until it’s time to file, but you’re chipping away at your tax liability all year long. The money you pay in is intended to cover your end of year tax responsibility by estimating what that may be along the way. If you make any financial changes like buying an income property, making some investments or adjusting your retirement plan -anything at all – you have no one to ask how it will impact your taxes. Unless, of course, you’ve hired an accountant. Though it may not always feel that way, taxes are a yearlong thing and what you do throughout the year can make a big difference. You want to avoid any lousy surprises at the end of the year and be able to ask questions as they arise.
4 | Changes in life circumstances warrant a call to an accountant.
Your taxes may feel straight forward until suddenly they aren’t. Marriage, divorce, starting or selling a business, first time homeownership, or new financial investments are all major life changes that absolutely impact your tax profile. If it’s new to you, it’s new to your taxes and you’ll want someone there to help you navigate this appropriately. Depending on what you’ve changed, TurboTax won’t know the right questions to ask and will only prompt you based on your previous filing information. This is a recipe for disaster.
5 | Accountants are not just tax preparers, but financial advisors.
You’re getting so much more than someone who will just crunch the numbers and file the paperwork. An accountant can advise you on your finances which is where their biggest value comes into play. For many of us, accounting 101 was challenging in college and never even covered how to prepare yourself financially to be comfortable if not wealthy in the future. It’s a pretty complex process and you want to be set up for long-term financial wellbeing. Not only will an accountant help with your taxes, but they will be able to support you to build longevity, security and wealth.
If you have used TurboTax in the past, it’s more than okay! When you set up your first meeting with us, bring in that last return and we will be able to use that information as a starting point for this year’s return and double check that things were done correctly in the past. It’s time to get serious about taxes and we’d love to help you out.
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