Why you should use a CPA to file your taxes

You’ve pushed your cart past the tax-preparation vendor at your local Walmart a million times. And you’ve also probably been subjected to TV ads where a happy couple, sipping lattes at an impossibly clean kitchen counter, click a button on their laptop and–voila!—their taxes are filed online. So easy! Right?

That happy couple who used software to file may think they’re money ahead when it comes to managing their finances, but are they really?

Using a certified public account (CPA) to file your tax return for you, instead of using online software or a Big Box tax preparer to do the job, might offer surprising benefits for your bottom line.

You’ve heard of thinking outside the box to solve problems, but CPAs actually get creative inside the box. A tax return is made up of a complicated set of rules—a box, if you will. Because experienced CPAs have done hundreds, if not thousands, of tax returns, their trained eyes can quickly analyze your financial situation and zero in on opportunities to save money inside that box.

Your CPA Wants to Save You Money

Michael Rousell, a CPA and manager at accounting firm Brockway, Gersbach, Franklin & Niemeier, explains it this way: “You don’t get a lot of added value when you use cookie-cutter tax-preparation software, or even if you go to someone at a shopping mall to do your taxes for you. It’s our job as CPAs to think inside the box that is set up by the IRS to determine the best course of action and identify ways to save our clients money.”

“A pre-fabricated system doesn’t necessarily find all the deductions that may be afforded to a taxpayer,” says Rousell. “I can see right away if you should be deducting your home office or tracking your mileage to take advantage of tax savings.” And, he reminds his busy clients, time is money—spending a day or two working through your tax return can drain you of income you could be earning elsewhere. “At our firm, we’ve done complicated tax returns many, many times and we know the right questions to ask so we don’t waste a minute.”

He says it’s a common assumption that if you use a professional accounting firm you’re going to unnecessarily pay lots of money to have your taxes prepared. In reality, that might not be the case at all. “Some folks say, ‘I can just do it myself for $50. Now, if you’re a person with a very simple tax situation, like you have only one W-2, that’s probably true. It’s hard to mess up that simple type of return.” But when you own a small business or are part of the gig economy, with several part-time jobs, for instance, tax calculations can become tricky in a hurry.

Don’t panic if you received one or more 1099s this year. Look at it this way—a self-employed worker (who receives 1099s) has opportunities to save money around every corner—literally. And a CPA can lead you through that process.

Ditch the Stress

If you requested an extension of time to file your taxes this year, that deadline is right around the corner—October 15, 2020. Consider running your tax picture past a CPA. Not only will you offload the stress of completing your own tax return, but you’ll likely save some bucks when your seasoned professional reveals new tax deductions and other money-saving strategies to use going forward.

As Rousell assures his clients, “The value we bring is peace of mind that you’re protected—we’ve done it right.”

Set an appointment to meet with one of our seasoned tax professionals.