If you are excited at the prospect of doing your taxes, you are one of the few lucky ones. For most of us mere mortals, our taxes are an incredibly intimidating and complex beast. Needless to say, the U. S. tax code does not make for a light read. Nonetheless, you are still obliged to file and pay your taxes, no matter how daunting the task may be.
Fortunately, help may just be a phone call away. This article will discuss various methods you can use to make filing your taxes as stress-free as possible.
Using professional tax preparation tools (people and software)
What is the most important benefit to having a tax professional prepare your tax return? Not having to prepare your tax return yourself. It is as simple as that – preparing and filing your own tax return will take up a lot of your valuable time, and could end up causing you a huge amount of stress and annoyance in your life. And no matter what, it is bound to be a perplexing and confusing process. Using a tax professional will take away most of your tax related stress (but not all of the stress, unfortunately – you will still have to wait for your tax bill).
You will also have the added benefit of knowing that will be able to rest easy with the knowledge that someone who actually understands the U. S. tax code is preparing your taxes. This is especially important if your tax situations is particularly complex, or if you want to plan an aggressive tax strategy as part of a larger financial plan.
What professional solution is right for you?
You have two main professional solution choices: people or software. If your tax situation is especially complex, or if you are a small business owner, than you should consider getting either an Enrolled Agent (EA) or a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to prepare your income taxes.
The advantage of using either of these professionals is that you will avail yourself of the services of someone who has been certified to prepare people’s taxes, by either the state for CPAs or the IRS for EAs. This is important if you have a complex tax situation and you need to know that it is being handled properly. If you just cannot take any risks, then hiring a professional is the way to go.
If you face a more straightforward tax situation, you could probably get by using one of the many walk in services that fill the airways with advertising come tax time. As a final alternative, if you are more confident in your skills you should considering using tax filing software to finish your taxes off yourself. With most software, it will just involve answering a series of questions; you will not just be left with an electronic version of the long form to fill out from scratch! And if your adjusted gross income is $52,000 or less, you will be able to find a software package to file your taxes for free under the government’s Free File program.
In the end, no matter what option you select, just be sure to plan ahead and file on time!
Steve Dolan has the good fortune to be married to a CPA so out of death and taxes he has one covered. Find out how you can cover yourself too at Income Tax and Tax Filing and for sales taxes try Sales Tax and State Taxes