Need Professional Tax Help?

Calendar - 15th are you ready The Tax Checklist from Carpenter, Evert and Associates can help you decide if it’s time to hire a tax professional.

To make the most out of your tax deductions, get a free Tax Organizer from Carpenter Evert.

Tax preparation was easy when we were in our 20s. Grab your W-2, a 1040EZ form, and you were done in 15 minutes. As life gets more complicated, so does tax preparation. It can be hard to know when it’s time to pay someone for tax services, so Carpenter, Evert and Associates has come up with a checklist that can help you decide.

Answer yes or no to the following questions to find out if you need professional tax help:

  1. Have you had a major life change this year? Think marriage, divorce, new baby or college.
  2. Did you buy or sell a home, or move to a new state this year?
  3. Did you receive investment income last year? Or did you lose money on investments?
  4. Have your wages increased significantly over the last few years?
  5. Have you recently become subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax?
  6. Do you make over $200,000 in wages?
  7. Do you owe back taxes? Interest and penalties? Are you behind in filing your tax returns?
  8. Have you recently retired and want to make the most of your retirement income?
  9. Did you have self-employment income last year? Are you a business owner?
  10. Do you own rental property?
  11. Have you received an inheritance this year? 
  12. Did you gift a significant amount of money to a loved one?
  13. Was any of your income from foreign sources?
  14. Did you receive any stock compensation – stock options, employee stock-purchase plans?
  15. Was using tax preparation software last year too complicated and time-consuming?
  16. Does the thought of doing your own tax preparation immediately make you start to sweat?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, it is time for professional help.

Storefront tax preparers – think H & R Block or Liberty Tax – are on every corner this time of year. There are some issues to watch out for; most employees are temporary seasonal workers who are trained to prepare tax returns on software much like what you would use at home. For the most part, they are not accountants or bookkeepers, and they won’t be back next year when you need help. Last year, the average cost of a tax return prepared at H & R Block was nearly $200, so it’s not necessarily a bargain either.

A better option is a certified public accounting firm. CPAs are experts – they are highly educated and trained, and are registered with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Just a few of the advantages of hiring a CPA:

  • CPAs go beyond just doing your tax returns. They offer specialized services in a variety of accounting areas. As your circumstances change, they will be ready to help.
  • You will build a relationship with your CPA, much like you would with your banker or financial advisor. By working with a CPA on an ongoing basis, you will have a trusted confidante who cares about you and will work to reduce your tax liability year after year.
  • A CPA is available year-round to answer any tax questions that might arise. They can also advise on budgeting, investments, and life changes.
  • The cost of hiring a CPA is based on the complexity of your tax return and can be surprisingly reasonable.

If you have questions about preparing your taxes, or to make an appointment with a Carpenter, Evert and Associates CPA tax expert, call (952) 831-0085. To request a free tax organizer, click on the link below.

To make the most out of your tax deductions, request a free Tax Organizer from Carpenter Evert.


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