One of the main reasons I’ve never taken my taxes to be done by a professional is because I never could figure out how they could do a better job than I could.
I mean, if you really think about it, only YOU can know what you spent your money on in the past year, and only YOU can figure out which deductions can be taken. You still have to keep track of all your receipts and take it in to the person.
Having had our taxes completed professionally this year, I can see that it definitely frees some time on the taxpayers part by not having to read through the instruction booklet and get the numbers added up right and in the correct slots. A tax person who does dozens or hundreds of returns naturally becomes accustomed to the forms and know exactly what each section is talking about and what numbers belong where.
We basically paid the guy for stress reduction. I contemplated entering our taxes into one of the online tax places anyway, and started doing that, but then I ran into some hiccup areas. I actually got into an area with a circular type error which wouldn’t let me go forward or backward, without getting the same error. I was unsure with how to proceed so instead of causing myself more stress I decided to stop there and just send in the papers we’d been given by the tax man.
That being said, I still think it’s wise to be knowledgeable about your taxes. If possible, when having your taxes prepared by a professional, take a day or two to look over them and make sure everything looks correct. If you can’t wait that long, at least take copies with you a nearby restaurant for lunch or a cup of coffee and carefully look over everything.
Our tax guy was able to email our returns to me in PDFs. This was perfect for me, as it gave me plenty of time to sit by myself and look over the forms carefully. I discovered a couple of mistakes our tax guy had made. The biggest one was he took the taxes we’d paid for the entire year, for every purchase, into the taxes paid for one of our businesses. To me it was simple to spot. We paid $4000 in supplies, and $1000 in tax? That’s 25% tax.
Another area he overlooked was a $10 tax reduction for our state taxes. Now granted, it’s only $10, but to my way of thinking, that’s $10 less I have to pay to the government! I am still shaking my head over that one. I can’t imagine he didn’t know about it. How could he have forgotten it?
He also didn’t want to see my tax paperwork from last year. He didn’t do my taxes last year, and I think it would have been helpful for him to see what I did last year. He possibly would have caught that I take that tax reduction.
I am not one to bury my head in the sand over these kinds of mistakes. I don’t care that he was a professional; everyone can have a bad day, put the wrong number in a spot, or add numbers up wrong.
Ironically, when I sent my “corrections” back to him, he found that my addition was incorrect. Touché. So I’m not perfect either.
This morning Mr. A and I signed the paperwork and I got the returns and checks into their envelopes, with return address labels and stamps. They are all ready to be put into the mail tomorrow. Once they are in the mail, I can finally cross them off my “to do” list.