In recent years the rise of the popular software application TurboTax has prompted many Americans to take on filing their income tax returns themselves, instead of hiring a professional tax preparer. While there are some potential advantages to this approach, there can also be numerous disadvantages, especially for those who aren’t particularly computer savvy and/or appreciate having some guidance.
This year, you may want to skip TurboTax entirely. Here are the top reasons to hire a tax professional instead:
You won’t be filling out complex tax forms.
Working with a tax preparer such as an enrolled agent also means that you won’t need to manually fill out your tax forms, aside from possibly having to sign them. Sure, TurboTax lets you input form information on the screen, but that doesn’t make the process all that much less complicated or potentially confusing, particularly if you are an individual who needs to submit multiple tax forms. This is a concern that immediately disappears when you hire a tax professional.
You’ll find all the deductions you can.
Each year there is an estimated $3.345 billion in unclaimed tax refunds. Tax professionals such as enrolled agents are experts at finding helpful deductions that many average American taxpayers don’t even know exist. This can be a huge monetary boost for you, which you may not enjoy if you use TurboTax. If you are in a specialized industry, such as real estate or education there are many unique deductions that you will probably miss using TurboTax. Are you a first-time homeowner? There are many tax deductions for first-time homebuyers you can take advantage of. Doing your own taxes means you are responsible for locating those deductions, TurboTax will not do it for you. Wouldn’t you rather have a pro handle that?
You will save time.
Preparing one’s own taxes using TurboTax can be a lengthy, involved process when you factor in all the time it takes to install and setup the software, organize your paperwork, input all of the information, check your return, etc. This time can be drastically reduced by hiring an enrolled agent or another professional tax preparer, who can take your income paperwork, ask some questions and essentially handle the rest without you.
You’ll know what you’re paying.
When you enlist an enrolled agent/tax professional for your return, you’ll also know upfront what the cost of those services will be. The same can’t be said for TurboTax, which can surprise users with extra add-on fees that you may not be aware of until you’re ready to file, after investing the time and money to buy the software and prep your return. It’s always better to know what you’re getting into from the start.
You don’t need to be a computer wizard.
It may seem like a small consideration, but in reality, there are many technical-related headaches that you’ll need to deal with should you decide to file your own taxes using TurboTax, and all of these issues can be avoided by hiring a pro (such as an enrolled agent) instead. When you enlist a professional tax preparer, there are no glitches to worry about, software updates to download, forms to save and print, errors to check and returns to upload. All of the work is done for you.
Your preparer will guide you.
When you’re working with a tax pro, should you hit any snags or have any questions in the tax preparation process, that expert will be available to answer those questions and/or speak to those concerns. This kind of help doesn’t exist when you use TurboTax. With Turbotax, you are basically on your own.
Your sensitive information will be safe.
The act of transmitting your return over the internet to the IRS and your state agency creates the potential for hackers to intercept that information and steal your valuable personal details. This risk may also exist if your tax preparer/enrolled agent submits your returns electronically on your behalf, however, it will be transferred over their own secure network. You won’t need to worry about the security of your home setup.
There’s less risk of an audit.
When hiring a tax professional like an enrolled agent to prepare your return instead of using TurboTax, you can also rest easy knowing you’re less likely to be audited, especially if you’re submitting a paper return, instead of an electronic copy. The IRS only stores paper returns for six years, whereas if you file electronically, that information will be available for scrutiny forever.
Are you ready to skip TurboTax this year and rely on experts instead? Robert Hall & Associates is a leading tax preparer and consultant serving Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena and the Greater Los Angeles area. Our team of enrolled agents are ready to help. Call us at (818) 242-4888 today or visit our Tax Services page for more information.
Interested in learning what sets Robert Hall & Associates apart from CPA firms? Learn the difference between Enrolled Agents and CPAs.
Need assistance in preparing your income taxes? Find out the top advantages of using an Enrolled Agent over a CPA.