If you are filling out your form just now, then the most important advice one can make is to accept the advice from a professional accountant for your tax preparation concerns.
Never accept any advice from just about anyone. No one can give you all the right answers - not a broker, a banker, an insurance salesman or any of your friends and family. If a non-tax person gives you information, contact your tax professional immediately. Here are the reasons why.
An accountant guides you in checking your options. They do the math in almost everything that you encounter. For instance, you have different options on treating a specific item for your tax return. He will help you review each option along with separate calculations. He will make sure that you will always end up with the lowest tax. These kinds of nuances are what trained accountants are supposed to do.
For example, in the case of a federal return that will affect your state tax return. The tax professional will help you assess the situation so as to persuade you in choosing the option from which your combined overall federal, state and local income tax amounts will be the lowest.
Also, if you want for your documents to be organized and systematic, a tax professional can help you do that. Their job is beyond just filing your tax for you. They help in the preparation of your tax returns. And so, they do it the way they deal with their own tax preparation.
Tax Preparer vs Tax Software
There are online filling services and software packages available these days. They promise to prepare correct and accurate returns.
If you have a straight-forward lifestyle and your financial situation is steady, using tax software may be a good choice. However, when we say stable, we mean there are no big life events or changes that happened in the tax year. Some of these big changes are buying or selling real estate, getting married, starting a family, a divorce or separation, money inheritance and death of a partner.
If you don't have enough knowledge of the tax code, resist these offers. If you don't know what you're doing, the information you enter won't be accurate as well. This garbage in, garbage out methodology in software prepares amateur tax payers for trouble. They might not be properly guided about their tax returns and so any software will give inaccurate information from a tax payer who doesn't know the details of his returns.
An accountant, on the other hand, can offer you help - not only in preparation, but also in ultimately understanding the taxes you're paying for and all the things related to tax filing. An experienced tax professional is just all you need. No software package or online service can be an alternative to actual tax knowledge.
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