3 Reasons to Hire a Tax Professional (Even If You Don't Mind the Work)


The final stretch of tax season is here, and the question of whether you should hire a tax professional is becoming an increasingly stressful matter for those who still haven't touched their tax returns. There are certainly many reasons to pursue the DIY route, especially for people who qualify for free tax filing. But on the flip side, a tax professional may be able to help you more than you think. Here are a few reasons why you should hire a tax professional this year. (See also: How to Find the Right Accountant for You)

You Can Focus on Saving More Money

Many people are surprised by the amount of time it takes to work with a certified public accountant (CPA), because it may seem like it requires even more time to work with someone than to file everything yourself.

In reality, though, most clients are getting more value out of the extra time they spend with a third party. When you are spending time filing your own taxes, most of the time is spent on paperwork and administration like gathering documents, adding up numbers, and figuring out which forms to fill out. You might also be spending quite a bit of time researching tax rules that may or may not apply to your case. When you work with a CPA, your time is usually spent making sure she is thinking about every deduction that applies to your situation.

It's difficult to promise that your tax return will take advantage of every legal deduction that applies to you even if you work with the most diligent pro, but you will likely find more deductions than if you were just filing your own 1040.

You Can Get Advice If You Are Audited

I always recommend working with a tax professional who is willing to represent you in case of a tax audit, because that also implies that she will stand by the work that is being performed. But even if you are told you will be on your own if you get audited, your accountant will almost certainly give you advice if the day comes. After all, she was the person who did your tax return in the first place and will need to make sure you understand the reasons behind all those numbers.

You Have Another Point of Contact for Your Financial Needs

As you work your way up the career ladder, you will eventually have assets to manage. When that day comes, you'll want to talk to as many people as you can about how best to manage those assets. Since many accountants work with small business owners, they may know good estate planners, responsible financial advisers, and even private health insurance providers. Take the advice with a grain of salt, because it's up to you to figure out whether the referral is worth the cost, but having the additional option for advice is always good.

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Meg Favreau's picture

I always work with a professional on my taxes -- for me, the peace of mind is worth it. Now I just need to live in one state long enough to meet a tax preparer I can go to every year. =)