15 Mar Tax Season: When to Consult a Professional
When it comes to tax season, there are lots of questions. Who should be filing? What forms are required? How do I do this on my own? When should I ask for help? While e-filing services have simplified the process for many, there are certain circumstances where you shouldn’t be going at your taxes alone. If one of these situations applies to you, it may be time to call up an accountant to help navigate your specific tax terrain.
Major Life Changes
Some major life changes that could affect your tax situation include marriage, divorce, the addition of a new family member, or the death of a spouse. While these changes may be new to you, an accountant sees these all the time, and they’re well versed in the necessary steps and ways to minimize your tax obligations. Year after year we grow accustomed to filing in the same way, so when our life changes course, it’s good to have a tax professional along for the ride to help you navigate the uncharted territory.
Started or Running a Business
Owning and operating a business has separate tax rules than the standard tax filing procedure. With the help of a professional, you’ll be able to learn about special deductions and figure out your company structure for tax purposes. If you own your business, make sure you collect all records that detail all of your business earnings and expenses. With that information, your accountant can help you determine the right forms and/or tax schedules.
Similar to the life changes listed earlier, retiring changes the landscape of taxes, making it a different process than what you’re probably accustomed to. Retirement means different tax obligations and different sources of income, so having some professional help will guide you in the right direction.
If you have any off-shore accounts or foreign investments, it’s best to hire the help of an accountant. These special circumstances come with complex rules and serious penalties, so it’s a good idea not to go at it alone.
Most people aren’t aware of the fact that in an ideal situation, we really shouldn’t be receiving a tax refund at all. While it’s nice to get a nice chunk of money, it really symbolizes that you’ve been overpaying the IRS too much, and this is money that you could have had in your pocket all along. By hiring a tax professional to assist with your tax situation, you’re avoiding costly mistakes that could mean that you end up paying the IRS more than you should. Taxes are like walking on a tightrope, and an accountant just might be able to offer the balance you need.