Tag Archives: Tax preparation

The 5 Biggest Differences Between Tax Preparers And Tax Attorneys

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There’s an accounting joke (yes, they exist) that goes like this:

Q: What is a CPA?

A: It’s someone who solves a problem you didn’t know you had in a way you don’t understand.

Even if that joke doesn’t make you laugh, it does contain an interesting bit about the necessity of a tax professional.  The IRS certainly isn’t your friend, but it also isn’t your enemy. It is an organization operating on a mind-numbing system of complexities, the kind most people just aren’t cut out to navigate. The truth is, if you have a business of any size, you need professional help with your taxes. This comes in the form of tax preparers, enrolled agents, CPAs and tax attorneys.

If you’re as confused by the line-up as me, here’s a little clarity on the biggest differences between the bottom and top of the totem pole.

 

1.     Education:

Tax preparers are trained in the general structure of tax returns. The majority of preparers are educated by whatever franchise they work at (H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, Liberty Tax Service). Independent preparers may attend tax preparer courses, but no formal training is needed to start a practice.

Tax attorneys must obtain a specialized law degree.  Beyond the basic degree, many tax attorneys obtain a Master of Laws degree in taxation as well as a mandatory Juris Doctor degree. In addition to this rigorous education, specialized courses are required covering advanced topics in business taxation. Many tax attorneys also have experience as certified public accountants.

 2.     Certification:

Anyone can become a tax preparer. On Jan. 18, 2013, the District Court put a stop to IRS requirements for registered tax return preparers to complete competency testing or secure continuing education. In fact, all it takes to offer the public service of tax preparation is the acquisition of a preparer tax identification number (PTIN), which costs all of $64.25.

Tax attorneys must pass the state bar.  After completing the years-long process of law school, tax attorneys must pass the bar exam of whichever state they wish to practice in.

3.     What they can do for you:

Tax preparers are capable of assisting you with basic, straightforward tax returns. If you have no special needs or complications involved in your taxes then a tax preparer is a good call. Whatever choice you make, be sure to ask about the full extent of your tax professional’s capabilities.

Tax attorneys can navigate your tax needs at every possible level. If you run a business and require assistance with complicated tax matters, or need year-round accounting, the seasoned tax attorney is your best bet.  They’ll keep you from getting in trouble with the IRS by guiding you through your finances before tax season and/or representing you in front of the U.S. Tax Court if that’s necessary.

4.     Who should hire them: 

Tax preparers are appropriate help for anyone with an ordinary tax structure.  The ideal client of a tax preparer is an individual with run-of-the-mill tax needs who forgoes the option to fill out taxes themselves. A small business without complicated tax structure can use them also, but it is advisable to seek a more experienced professional. It’s worth noting that chain tax services like H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, or Liberty Tax Service employ people with varying levels of experience, and it’s a good idea to ask if any CPAs are employed there. If the answer is yes, request to work with them.

Tax attorneys are the choice for anyone with intricate tax needs, or issues with the IRS. If you get audited by the IRS or owe an excessive amount of money ($10,000 or more) you should seek the help of a tax attorney. It’s a good to be proactive and hire a tax attorney for management of a more involved account where a traditional accountant will not suffice. This would include businesses with payroll, international business or estate planning. One option is to turn to a company like Burkett, Burkett and Burkett that staffs experienced CPAs and tax attorneys. These kinds of firms benefit from the shared experience of a group.

 5.     What they will cost:

Tax preparers charge in a number of different ways, but are generally affordable. From independent preparers to franchise services, methods of billing range from flat fees to hourly and scaled fees by level of complexity. The average 2012 price for H&R Block was $192 per return where Liberty Tax Service averaged $173.

Tax attorneys are costly.  We all know that hiring a lawyer is going to cost and a tax lawyer is no exception. You will more than likely be charged an hourly rate and can expect to see them ranging from a few hundred dollars to $1,000 or more per hour.  This is obviously what puts such an emphasis on hiring the right kind of professional. If you don’t require complicated tax services, you may be able to get by with a tax preparer or certified public accountant. However, don’t make the mistake of cutting corners in a situation where potential consequence so greatly outweighs the savings.

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Important Tax Filing Tips For 2013

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Legal research (Photo credit: gwilmore (I HATE THE NEW LAYOUT!))

Between January 1 and the end of the first month of the year, most people will find themselves with a variety of tax forms showing up in the mail. From W-2s to financial aid documents for school, just keeping track of all of the information can be a difficult task in and of itself. It isn’t difficult to understand why people often put off filing their taxes until the very last minute, but the job does not have to be as frustrating as most of us let it become. In fact, a lot of people would probably be pleasantly surprised to find out just how easy and convenient filing taxes can be if they follow a few simple guidelines.

Tips For Filing Taxes

Filing taxes isn’t a fun time for many people. Accountants and people who love numbers might have fun with it at first, but even they get bored with it after awhile. It can be hard to stay focused and file your taxes correctly if you aren’t sure of what you are doing. No one wants to pay someone a fortune to help them with their tax paperwork, either, so it can be hard to figure out where to go. Here are some helpful tips that can get you through this tax season and help you into next season, as well.

-Make sure that you pay all of your back taxes or anything that you owe. It might seem like you can just wait until the money comes around again, but the more returns you file with an outstanding balance, the higher your penalties and interest will go.

-If you use online programs, check and double check them for yourself. If your taxes are too complicated to do manually, use two programs to ensure that they both arrive at the same refund or amount owed. It’s important to make sure that the forms are accurate.

-Don’t file online if you haven’t filed other years of taxes. Your return will get flagged in the system and the IRS actually won’t let you file it if you have outstanding returns. Just print it out, mail it in, and wait.

-Use free file programs when you can. Choose companies that are reputable and that actually have free e-filing. They shouldn’t come up with hidden charges or wait until the end to tell you that it’s only free if you do this or that. Just find what’s free. That’s it.

-If you need tax help, ask now instead of later. Getting ahead of the game can make it easier for you to get back on track. Ask for the help that you need with filing so that you can get your taxes in order and get more out of your returns. There’s no shame in asking for help.

Importance Of Taxes

Make sure that you put these tips to work for filing your taxes this year, no matter what you are dealing with. It’s important to stay on top of things and get the help that you need out of your tax services, no matter what you have in mind. Use the resources that are available because they make taxes much less intimidating and can be helpful in keeping you on track. That’s the least that you deserve when it comes to your taxes, no matter what your situation might be.

The Community Manager of www.MyReviewsNow.net website, Stephanie Frasco, wrote this post about filing taxes.

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Top Tax Scams To Avoid With Turbo Tax 2013

Top Tax Scams To Avoid With Turbo Tax 2013

Using Turbo Tax 2013 is a good way to avoid tax scams in the first place, seeing as how you can e-file your paperwork with confidence that it will go directly to the IRS. However, there are people who will try to catch you in a scam this year, so you need to know what to watch out for. You should use www.TurboTax.com to gather information about filing your taxes correctly, in a safe manner, so these scams do not affect you.

Paying taxes is required for both citizens and...

Paying taxes is required for both citizens and non-citizens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Email Scams
Even if you have already used Turbo Tax 2013 and www.TurboTax.com to file your taxes, you could get an email saying that you are going to be given a second tax return. The email will look official, even down to the IRS logo, and it will state that you just need to resubmit your information to get the extra money. Do not respond to this email, because the information will really be used for identify theft.

2. Tax Preparers
If you decide not to use Turbo Tax 2013 and www.TurboTax.com, you might have to hire a tax preparer to file your taxes for you. Be very careful about what papers you sign. Some preparers will have you sign over your entire return so that they get to keep it instead of you, and, since you signed the documents, this is totally legal.

3. Fake Charities
You can claim all of the money that you give to charity as a tax write-off when you file with Turbo Tax 2013. However, make sure that you are not donating to a fake charity, which will simply steal your money as you attempt to save on your taxes.

4. Grant Scams
After you file with Turbo Tax 2013, you might get a call from a fake IRS agent, telling you that you need to provide you bank account into to get a grant. This is a scam to steal money directly from the bank.

Protect yourself this year. Learn all that you can about scams, and then use www.TurboTax.com to avoid them. With a little research, you can protect your identity and your money.

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The Benefits Of Filing Your Taxes With TurboTax 2013 Or TaxBrain

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Filing Your Taxes With TurboTax 2013 Or TaxBrain

If you have previously filed your taxes by going to a CPA, you really need to look into online software like TurboTax 2013 or TaxBrain. You will find that there are a number of advantages to using a software program that a CPA cannot provide. In fact, in the modern day, more and more Canadians are starting to use preparation software because it gives them the experience that they desire.

TurboTax

TurboTax (Photo credit: MrGuilt)

No CPA Fees
To start with, TurboTax 2013 and TaxBrain are not going to charge you fees just to do your taxes. Even software that is not free is often less expensive than hiring someone to do it for you, and free software is the best deal of all. If you are tired of the cost of a CPA meaning that your return is not as big as you wanted it to be, these programs are the ideal solution.

Simple Layouts
Both TurboTax 2013 and TaxBrain are better than getting the paperwork yourself because they are much easier to understand. They were created with very basic structures. Instead of having to figure out what to input, you are generally asked a series of questions. As long as you answer them, your information will then be copied over to the forms for the government. You do not need to have any experience, and you certainly do not need a degree in tax law.

Saving as You Go
Another benefit of TurboTax 2013 or TaxBrain is that you can save your progress as you go. If you want to start your taxes tonight, you do not have to finish them tonight. You can simply save what you have done to your account. The next time that you log on, all of your information will still be intact. You could even work on the taxes for just fifteen minutes a day, breaking the whole process up so that it is not nearly so overwhelming. Furthermore, this protects all of the time that you have put in if your computer crashes, as long as you save periodically while you work.

Filing for Free
Finally, the major benefit of a program like TurboTax 2013 or TaxBrain is that you can electronically file all of your paperwork with the government. In many cases, this is entirely free. It does not even cost you the postage that it would take to mail the documents in if you had printed them off and filled them out. Furthermore, electronic filing is incredibly fast, so you can get your return as soon as possible. This is one of the most secure ways to send in the paperwork, and you never have to worry about all of the documents getting lost in transit.

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Canadian Income Tax Filing Made Easy

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Canadian Income Tax Filing Made Easy

In recent years, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has been expanding the methods available for you to file your income taxes. As the digital revolution continues, the agency has focused much of its energy on developing online filing methods. However, traditional means are still available to facilitate your Canada income tax filing.

Online

Accountants' Office

Accountants’ Office (Photo credit: RobW_)

The CRA has established NETFILE as an online option for filing your Canadian tax return. The CRA has certified the commercial software and the Web application of the program. Also, there exists a number of free software applications for use with NETFILE.

Digital Service Provider

You may employ a service provider to submit your taxes online with the EFILE program to prepare you return. After completing your return, take your forms to a digital service provider to file online for free. This digital platform traditionally results in your return being processed quickly.

Mail

Regardless of the nature of your return, every tax filer in Canada has the option of submitting his or her return by post. Simply complete the required forms, and place them in the mail for the cost of a stamp.

Professional Accountant

If your taxes are complex, if you own a business, or you just don’t feel confident about completing your income tax returns on your own, you may hire an accountant to prepare your taxes.

Whether you are a small business owner who doesn’t have the time to complete your returns or you like the convenience of the Internet, there is an option for you to successfully file your Canadian tax return.

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Getting Your Taxes Done with TurboTax Canada

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Getting Your Taxes Done with TurboTax Canada

TurboTax Canada is the software that every person should take advantage of when it comes time to sit down and do your taxes. Paying a professional can be very costly, you may be throwing money away. Also, taking this approach would mean having to rely on someone else to find the tax savings that are available to you.

saving and spending

saving and spending (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

When you are able to take control of the filing process, it would be much easier to find any potential savings that may be available to you. Even if you have a limited understanding when it comes to income tax Canada filing, you would find that this software does all of the work for you. The TurboTax approach is based on the understanding that not everyone is a tax expert, it is built to guide you through the process step by step. When you turn to this software to get your taxes down, you would find that you are able to file without having to feel extremely stressed about getting through the process.

When you choose TurboTax Canada to file your taxes, you would be able to keep more of the money that already belongs to you. Spending all of your money to have someone else do your taxes may seem like it would get you the most savings. However, income tax Canada filing on your on would likely be the easiest way to ensure that you are not missing out on savings that are available to you.

Tax season can be very stressful when you do not know where to turn. If confusion is a feeling that you are having when it comes to your taxes, you are going to find the guidance of this software to be very helpful. In no time at all, you can complete your taxes and get back to enjoying your day.

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