Do you need to see an accountant instead of going online? Do you know what you need to bring? Knowing what to bring to your tax appointment can be a daunting task, especially if it's your first time.
Generally, you want to see a tax professional when you have a complex situation. It's not always about convenience or cost but ensuring accuracy. You might need to call in advance and ask specifics, but no matter the situation, there are basics you should never leave behind. Dive into the details below.
What should you bring my first tax appointment?
The best practice is to bring whatever you believe is tax relevant that the tax professional might need to reference to be understand your situation and help you. Most tax practices will need the following documents, however it is always best to call ahead and check if there is anything else that they might need.
Prior tax returns from the 2 most recently filed years.
Your driver's license.
Social security card.
Identity protection PIN (if applicable).
All tax-related documents (including income and expense reports).
A list of questions or concerns, and any items or evidence relating to them.
Having these will not only speed up the process but also ensure you get the most accurate tax return possible.
Do you really need a tax professional or can you file online?
The answer is "it depends". The easiest way to tell is the following:
Simple Situations: If your tax situation is straightforward and you're confident in your understanding of the IRS rules, then online tools like Turbo Tax or HR Block might be a practical choice. These platforms guide you step-by-step, making the process easier and they will most often be cheaper.
Complex Cases: However, when your tax situation becomes intricate or if there are aspects you're unsure about, a tax professional is indispensable. Their expertise will guide you through complex scenarios, ensuring you remain compliant with the IRS and your state of residency.
When is the best time to see your tax accountant?
While many might rush in April, it's advisable to contact a tax accountant as soon as you anticipate needing one. They can then pencil you in for a suitable appointment, ideally once you have all your necessary tax documents in hand.
Most common myths about Itemized Deductions
Myth: All tax professionals charge the same fees.
Reality: Fees vary based on the complexity of the work, the professional's experience, and other factors. It's important to understand that in a year of large tax changes, most qualified tax accountants will incur additional costs to appropriately train their staff on the topics, which will increase their fees.
Myth: Online tax software is always accurate.
Reality: While they are designed to be accurate, mistakes can happen, especially if the user doesn't input information correctly. It is important to not only put in the information correctly, but already understand what the likely outcome should be. If you are at all unsure about what outcome you have generated, it is best to meet with a tax professional.
Myth: I don't need to bring old tax returns.
Reality: Prior tax returns can provide invaluable context, ensuring nothing is missed by whatever tax professional you choose to engage. If there is anything in particular that you believe should be noted, it is also good to bring it to ensure that the tax professional understands your situation completely.
Myth: If I miss the deadline, it's too late to file with a tax professional.
Reality: Fortunately, tax professionals can assist with late filings in most cases, and as soon as you know you might need to file, you should beginning looking for the tax professional that can serve you best. It is also important to understand that even though they may be able to help you file the prior year returns, it does not mean that those returns can be e-filed, and must be paper filed instead.
Myth: Tax professionals only deal with complex tax situations.
Reality: While they excel in intricate scenarios, tax professionals can assist with simple tax situations, often identifying deductions or credits you might miss. If there is some question or detail that interests you most, you can contact your favorite tax professional with the questions. In our practice, we typically accept phone calls and emails for any questions or concerns throughout the year, and if you would like to have an in-person meeting, you can call and schedule an appointment.
Preparing for your tax appointment might seem like a challenge, especially when diving into the world of taxation for the first time. But with the right information, and by talking to a tax professional, the journey becomes clearer and more manageable. Remember, it's not just about filing taxes but doing it accurately and efficiently.
We are here to help with any questions you have. Just give us a call.
Tax and Ledger Professionals, Inc
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone Number: (760) 480-1040
Address: 365 W 2nd Ave, Escondido, CA 92025
For over 35 years, we've been the go-to for tax, accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll services that keep businesses running smoothly and lower individuals' and businesses' tax burden. See for yourself how we've transformed numerous businesses across San Diego and throughout the United States.
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