February 11, 2019
One of the simplest ways of preparing for your taxes is to utilise the services of a tax professional, and recent statistics put around 60% of US tax paying citizens reportedly using paid preparers to submit their tax returns. While it is perfectly acceptable to go it alone - especially if you have a good head for such things – using a paid professional is the best way of eliminating errors and being sure to submit all the relevant information at the right time.
Selecting the right tax preparer for you:
Asking among your friends, family and colleagues is a tried and tested method for finding a reputable tax preparer that you can trust, and this is a recommended starting point for anyone searching for a tax professional.
Always ensure that any tax professionals you consider have a PTIN, or Preparer Tax Identification Number and be sure to ask about fees from the offset. While their charges will doubtless depend on the complexity of your tax circumstances, you should avoid those preparers whose fee involves a percentage of your refund.
Don’t waste time before meeting with your tax preparer:
Delaying meeting with your tax preparer is not a good idea, no matter how much you hate the thought of taxes. The quicker you meet with them, the quicker the process can begin and the less likely the chance of deadlines being missed. Acting promptly is also the best way to ensure that you get your refund as quickly as possible
Locate your information returns:
You should have received several types of information returns by the end of January, and for each of these, you need to check that the information matches your own records in preparation for meeting with your tax professional.
Locate your receipts:
Itemizing your personal deductions or claiming the standard deduction, will determine which receipts you’ll need to hand over to your tax preparer. Establishing whether itemizing will give you a greater write off can only be achieved by comparing your itemized deductions with your standard deduction amount. If itemizing, locate your receipts, looking for medical expenses not covered by insurance or reimbursed by any other health plan, property taxes and job and investment related expenses.
If you have any business income to report and expenses on a Schedule C form, then you’ll need to share your accounts and records with your tax preparer, too. In short, the more organized you are, the better your tax preparer will be able to work; the quicker they can get their work done, the less they will need to charge you.
Please see the next part of this article to read more tips for a pain-free tax experience.
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