Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Taxes - DIY or Hire a Preparer?

Should you do your own taxes? by Jeff Schnepper of MSN Money offers his perspective on how to think about this question. He writes that taxpayers should consider three points when deciding:
  1. Do you want to invest the time?

  2. Do you want to pay a preparer?

  3. Do you want to learn the the tax code?
The answers to these questions can help determine whether doing it yourself (DIY) or paying a preparer is the better option.

As a tax preparer (which is disclosed in the article), Mr. Schnepper is biased towards paying a preparer. However, he does make what I consider an excellent point if one decides to hire a tax preparer: choose someone who provides advice. I agree that a preparer who gives advice on how to minimize tax liability in current and future years, provides higher value than a preparer who just fills out the numbers on the forms.

I still do my own tax returns. However, I were to ever hire a preparer, I would meet with and interview several candidates, to make sure I choose someone who is interested in providing advice as well as doing the return.

For more on The Practice of Personal Finance, check back every Wednesday for a new segment.

This is not financial or tax advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

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