Preparing for Your Tax Preparation Meeting
Last updated: May 24, 2016
The current federal tax code is so intimidating that even reliable tax professionals, let alone ordinary taxpayers, will gladly turn over the task of completing their returns to a tax consultant.
But overpaying for that service occurs every year. Here are a few ways to save money, time and the frustration of dealing with this annual chore.
1. Getting Organized.
This may sound extremely obvious, but a vast majority of taxpayers don’t take the advice of tax preparers to keep good records and receipts throughout the year. Come April they’re running around filling a shoebox with scraps of paper stored all over the place. If your tax preparer has to organize this mess, you’ll be paying considerably more for his services. It is well worth the cost to purchase one of the many tax organization kits to assist you in this task. Most reliable tax services will often provide you with a kit or a tax checklist to help in the process.
If, however, you didn’t keep your records and receipts in an orderly fashion, there is still hope. Some tax consultants have fee schedules that don’t charge by the hour but by the complexity of the return or the number of forms that are required.
2. Determine Your Objectives.
You will want to determine what types of services you will need and how aggressively you want the tax preparer to be looking for credits and deductions. This will have an impact on the level of service and its cost.
Just remember that your tax preparer can not guarantee that the IRS won’t audit you, however aggressive or conservative the return is prepared. The formula that the IRS uses is a closely held secret and some returns are chosen randomly.
You may wish to attempt filling out the return yourself as a dry run. It may give you an idea of how complex your tax return is likely to be for your preparer. You’ll have a better idea of the level of expertise your tax consultant should have, from a national tax preparation service up to a tax specializing CPA.
3. Tax Time is Year-Round..
Keeping accurate records and receipts year-round may be a big hassle, but it is well worth the effort come April. And if you should be audited by the IRS, that organization can be the difference between a big hassle and a very expensive tax bill.