It is estimated the average taxpayer who chooses to undertake filing his taxes on his own spends at least 20 hours on the entire process including locating all his relevant paperwork, organizing his information and plugging numbers into his tax forms. This number can double for those who own businesses, rental properties or other assets that can make the process more complicated.
To make filing one’s taxes even more involved, tax laws tend to change every year. The foundation of Tax Preparation in Manhattan may remain the same; however, those little rules revolving around the core are consistently modified. Though popular tax preparation software can help take some of the guesswork out of the equation, this still does not eliminate the potential for problems.
Four types of professional tax preparation specialists are available to the public. Storefront Agents are those found at local tax preparation offices throughout the country. Certified public accountants are certified by the state to offer financial services to their clients. They must be fully versed in financial planning, personal finance, tax preparation, business law, accounting and a number of other relevant fields.
While CPA’s cover all aspects of finance, an Enrolled Agent focuses primarily on tax preparation. In addition to extensive mathematical skills, agents of this nature must be able to correctly fill out tax forms for individuals, families, partnerships, C corporations and S corporations. They must also remain current on all taxable items including inheritances, gifts, estates, retirement plans, payrolls and non-profits.
The fourth financial professional is a tax attorney. Tax attorneys assist with complex legal situations such as international tax laws for those owning multinational corporations and those having issues with the IRS. A tax attorney is capable of completing the filing process for his clients and handling any legal issues that may arise.
For most, a Storefront Agent, CPA or Enrolled Agent can provide any necessary tax preparation services. Attempting to file taxes without the help of a professional can be a risky investment. One small mathematical error can leave a person owing thousands to the IRS or simply not receiving the tax refund he would have been entitled to.
If a person chooses to fill out his own taxes regardless of the complexity of the process and the potential risks involved, it is recommended he ask a professional to review his tax forms to ensure no errors were made.