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Is it time to get professional tax assistance? Follow these tips

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Paying your taxes is not always the easiest achievement. You may not have much work to do, which means that you can easily submit your federal returns . If you are lucky, you may be eligible for a tax deduction and tax credit to reduce what you owe or increase what you receive in a refund .

Doing your own taxes can be a lot of work. It's hard to know when to go for it alone and when to see an expert. Here are a few ways to see if you need professional tax assistance.

. You have bought (or sold) a house

Real estate is a major change in life, whether you have bought it or sold it. You may need to calculate capital gains if you have sold property. In other cases you may need to specify your deductions. If you are not sure about your numbers – or where you can find them – try talking to a professional.

2. You are married or your family has grown

If you have made the knot, have a baby or have adopted one, you must update your tax return. You may have to change your archiving status to & # 39; married with you & # 39 ;, which gives you a hefty bonus. Yes – extra money just to get married. Even if you are divorced, your tax returns also change. In both cases you should consider talking to a tax expert.

In addition, having children can earn some tax credits . With the child discount you can claim up to $ 1,000 for each eligible child – including adopted children. There is also a separate tax credit for adoption.

3. You have started a business

Whether it is a busy life or a fully-fledged company, working for yourself can be lucrative. But it can also have various tax consequences.

First, the way you classify your business, such as an LLC or sole proprietorship, may determine how your taxes are processed. The tax on self-employed work is high, and many have to file quarterly taxes, while those who work for others only have to file an annual file. A tax professional will let you know how to prepare for taxes, put money aside and every detail about the impact of your business on your tax return.

4. Your assets grew

Owning a home can be reason enough to find a professional. But if you have other assets, including investments, it may be time to find someone who knows what they are talking about.

If a loved one died and you left something valuable, including money, you need to know how to deal with it. Sometimes real estate agents can be useful, but it is important to understand how taxes play a role.

5. You are stressed because you are doing it wrong

Tax legislation changes every year, even if a change is minor. Sometimes we do not have the right mindset to deal with our taxes ourselves that we are missing something important. And if the IRS finds out that we did not do it properly, this can result in a fine or you can be checked.

If you have submitted and paid too little, you can get a fine of 0.5% plus interest. If you do not submit a file at all and the government owes money, there is a fine of 5%.

The extra stress of making mistakes is reason enough to find someone to do well the first time.

How a qualified tax professional

If you do not qualify for free tax assistance you can still seek the help of a tax professional.

The tax season can bring in a whole series of scammers that only pop up to earn your business and disappear after they have it. Don't fall for tax fraud and instead find the right person or group to get you started.

  • National Association of Enrolled Agents – With the NAEA you can browse more than 10,000 registered agents, broken down by specialty, location and other criteria.
  • American Institute of CPAs – The AICPA has more than 429,000 members worldwide. Certified public accountants (or CPA & # 39; s) have a license to provide accounting services. There are different searches based on your needs.
  • Internal Revenue Service – The IRS has a directory of tax preparers where you can search by location and references.

Qualified professionals should have no problem detailing their expertise, how long they have been active and sharing their certifications. You may have reservations like:

  • They don't have PTIN. Ask your potential tax provider to provide you with their preparatory tax identification number (PTIN). If you prepare taxes for money or help, you must have a PTIN.
  • They don't e-files. The IRS also recommends that you file your tax return electronically. Preparers who have handled 10 or more returns must send an e-file via the IRS. Be careful if your preparer proposes an alternative.
  • They ask you to sign a blank return. If you sign a return without details, it means that anyone can include whatever you want in your file. Also check again to see where your return money goes. If your bank details are not stated, it is a red flag.

Although hiring professional help is not required, you may need extra help. If you call in the help of an expert, you must first do your homework.

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