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Hire a Tax Preparer or Go It Alone?

More and more people are making the move to doing their taxes at home. With programs like TurboTax and TaxACT available, the process can be simplified and the refund swift in coming. However, going it alone is not always the wisest or most cost-efficient choice.

Let’s weigh some of the key factors in determining whether or not to enlist the aid of a professional.

1. Is it worth your time?

For the self-employed, it may be more advantageous to enlist the services of a professional tax preparer or Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Doing your own taxes, especially those related to a business, takes time. And, time is money.

2. Do you have the knowledge to glean all of the tax-related benefits involved in owning your own business?

Being self-employed may just be one of the greatest tax strategies of our time. As a self-employed individual, you are in control of your taxable income. With the right know-how, you can fully control how much tax you pay. In fact, there are many tax advantages to being self-employed, and, oftentimes, a professional can find tax savings and deductions related to your business that you may have otherwise overlooked.

Ultimately, for the self-employed it’s a matter of weighing the cost against the advantages of hiring a professional. Keep in mind however, hiring a professional can often result in tax savings that more than make up for the cost of the service.

3. What if you aren’t self-employed? What if you are filing for yourself or your family?

In this case it may be worthwhile to consider going it alone. Programs like TurboTax and the free program TaxACT walk you through the process step-by-step and often make receiving your refund a simple and expedient process.

Above all else though, the best rule of thumb to follow in either situation is to trust yourself. Base your decision on whichever route gives you the most peace of mind. If you are comfortable completing the tax forms and utilizing the programs available for going it on your own, then this may be the best route for you. If however, you have any doubts or concerns, your best bet may be to hire a professional.

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