I have been asked many times over the years why people should hire a professional to prepare their taxes as opposed to preparing their own return.  In my opinion the decision to have a professional prepare your taxes is as big of a no-brainer as there is. This is because of my experience in the income tax industry and the horror stories of self-prepared returns that I have witnessed. However, I can see how some people might not understand why they should hire a high quality tax professional rather than attempting to prepare them on their own.  Throughout this article I will point out several of the reasons everybody should have their taxes prepared by a professional.  Keep in mind that when I say a tax professional I mean someone who is qualified, has ample experience, and is willing to speak with you personally to explore your individual tax situation to best maximize your deductions.

The first thing I like to ask people is whether they go to a medical professional to diagnose what affects their health? Or whether they would go to court without a law- professional representing them?  Personally I do not, because I believe in specialization.  I want a professional carpenter putting on the addition to my house, an electrician to do the wiring, and a mechanic to work on my car.  These people do this everyday, have had extensive training and know what they are doing. This is why I cannot imagine individuals attempting to do something they do once a year and that has such a large financial impact on their lives, like preparing their tax return.

I have witnessed so many cases in which people have either caused an audit because what they have included on their return or have cost themselves thousands of dollars by missing credits or deductions that they were eligible for.  I currently have many clients who at one-time prepared their own returns and would never do it again because they now see the benefits of having a professional tax preparer.

What is the thing that we never have enough of and that we can never get back once it is gone?  Yes, time.  Recent government estimates show it takes taxpayers 28 hours and 30 minutes to complete an average tax return with schedules A and B.  Don’t you have better things to do with your time?  My clients put all of the information they receive in a folder and bring it into me to complete their tax return.  On average my clients come in, meet with me, and have their returns filed electronically in under an hour. That is quite a savings in time.

Another reason to hire a tax professional is that you do not keep up with current tax law.  Congress is constantly passing new laws, the IRS comes out with new rulings, and judges make new decisions all the time, all which directly affect your tax situation. How many of you not only read about all these decisions in the newspaper, but research them thoroughly to see how they affect your individual tax situation?Professional tax preparers subscribe to newsletters, press releases, and alert services that keep them abreast of every changing tax law.  In addition, professional tax preparers attend tax education courses throughout the year and learn from experts, IRS agents, and state officials.

One of the best commercials I have seen is where the husband gets into a little tax trouble and asks his wife what he should do.  He obviously had used a do-it-yourself tax software, so she told him to ask the box.  This is so true.  I receive telephone calls throughout the year from clients who have received letters from the IRS and do not know what to do, have tax planning questions, or simply have to make a decision in their life and want to know how it will affect their taxes.  I just wonder where people who prepare their own taxes go for that type of information.  Like with all high quality tax preparers I am available year round to help clients out with any tax questions or concerns that they might have.  Keep in mind if you make an important decision in your life, chances are it will affect your taxes.

Finally, by using a high quality tax preparer you are actually lowering your chances of an audit. Tax professionals know the thresholds at which deductions throw up red flags. By informing you that your charitable deductions are extremely high, you might be able to eliminate an audit of your entire return.  Statistics are available that track average taxpayers deduction amounts and tax preparers know this information and can tell you when your deductions are greatly exceeding these averages.  I have made these itemized deduction averages available in The Audit Angel:  Your Essential Income Tax Organizer and Mileage Log, which you can order at http://www.bergersontax.com/.  If you prepare your own taxes you won’t know if your deductions are raising a red flag and you might either take less deductions than you could or take way too many deductions and draw attention to your return.

I urge anybody that I speak with to hire a high-quality tax professional to complete their tax returns.  I have personally been in the income tax industry for over ten years and provide my clients with personalized and expert income tax service.  I am available year round to help with any tax related matter.  You can reach me at 651-647-4935, email-info@bergersontax.com, or on my website at http://www.bergersontax.com/. If you have any questions about my services or any other tax related matter, or would like to set up an appointment for this coming tax season please call me anytime.