Do You Need a Tax Preparer or a Tax Consultant?

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As tax season approaches, almost everyone (hopefully) is getting ready and making appointments to prepare and file their tax return. Good for you. With the speed and convenience of retail franchises like HR Block and Liberty Tax or even free software online, most people don't have to worry too much about where and how. from which they will receive their tax returns before the filing deadline. But then, there are those who dread tax filing season because:

  • They have more than one source of income like having a dual income household;
  • They are running a business;
  • They make a lot of money;
  • They have more than one type of income like salary from a job, income from a secondary business, retirement income, or even investment income;
  • They own personal or business assets that they could have sold or given away during the year

So … what are these people doing? Better yet, what could be better: a tax preparer or advisor? Let's talk …

A trusted advisor

While most preparers are trustworthy, they are mostly available during tax season (January through April). For those who work in retail tax franchises, they work part time and have limited access beyond the time they are preparing taxes. Tax advisers are generally available year round as tax preparation and advice is their full time activity. Another benefit of being available for the entire year is to consult tax advisers on transactions that could cause you to pay too much or too little in taxes.

In-depth knowledge of the tax code

It is generally the norm for consultants to have in-depth and in-depth knowledge of the tax code. Most of them have professional titles such as Enrolled Agents (EA), Chartered Accountants (CPA), or certifications obtained through accredited programs such as the National School of Tax Training and other professional institutions. In addition, they typically have many years of experience working with clients or in previous jobs related to tax preparation or consulting. Why is this important? It doesn't have to sound like a tax nerd and speak in jargon that is too difficult for anyone to understand. Absolutely not. Unlike preparers (not all, but most), consultants rely on their knowledge of the code to come up with strategic options to reduce your legal and fair tax bill. Also, it saves you time as they are often able to locate the necessary reference in the code to take a certain inference or exclusion without much effort or research.

If you are looking for speed, convenience, and the lowest possible price, then go for a preparer in one of the retail franchises or maybe even complete your return online yourself. However, if you are looking for a trusted advisor with a deep understanding of the code available year round, choose a tax advisor. You will not regret it.


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