Tax time can be stressful for a multitude of reasons. For many people, this is the time of the year when you are focused on getting your family’s finances in order and preparing for the future, but this is not always an easy thing to do on your own. So, before you spend money on tax preparation software and try to do it all yourself, consider seeking out help from one of the many professionals who understand all of the ins and outs of tax season.
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If you are seeking out a tax professional, the most important thing is to make sure they are qualified for the job. Only a few states require any kind of credentials to call oneself a tax professional, so in most places, anyone is able to advertise with that title.
While many tax situations can be handled on your own independent of professional help, there are a number of reasons you may want to enlist professional guidance. If, for instance, you have gone through a major life event (such as a birth, marriage, or divorce) during the year, purchased a home, or started a business, these tax situations may be more difficult to handle and may require the help of a pro.
With the growth of the gig economy in recent years, many people are starting businesses without even realizing it. If you are earning money with apps such as Uber, Fiverr, or Postmates, that money is taxed a bit differently than what you earn from your regular employer, and professional help may be necessary to sort out all of the details so that you don’t accidentally commit tax fraud.
IRS Tax Advocate
The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS that was developed to ensure that taxpayers understand their rights and are treated fairly by the IRS. The TAS is particularly for those taxpayers who are having financial difficulties related to problems with the IRS. They also monitor trends in taxpayer problems to help streamline IRS procedures and make life easier for taxpayers. If you are having trouble paying your tax liability due to unforeseen financial circumstances, taxpayer advocates can help.
Accountant or CPA
A CPA or Certified Public Accountant is different from a tax preparer and can do quite a bit more. While they do prepare taxes for many taxpayers, they can also help you determine how your tax situation fits into your overall financial plans for your future. If you run a small business with employees, it is imperative that you enlist the help of a CPA to make sense of your financial situation, but they can also help you to make investment decisions, plan for retirement, and set your goals and objectives for the future.
Tax Settlement Firms
For those with significant tax liability and financial hardship, the IRS offers tax settlement in the form of an offer in compromise. Tax settlement firms can help negotiate with the IRS in order to help you pay down your tax debt more quickly. What a tax settlement firm will do is consider your particular tax situation in order to determine what you are actually capable of paying. Then, the firm will handle communication with the IRS, relieving a great deal of work and stress from you. Sometimes, tax settlement firms are able to negotiate a settlement offer with the IRS that is far less than what you owe, saving you a great deal of money and anxiety in the long run. If you are having difficulty paying your tax liability, you should consider contacting an IRS debt settlement firm to find out what assistance the firm can provide you.
Many people choose not to ask for help when tax time rolls around because of the costs involved with hiring a professional. However, every tax situation is unique, and often, hiring outside help can prove to be far less costly than trying to do everything by yourself.