What kind of tax help should I be getting?
February 19, 2014 5:12 PM Subscribe
I'm a roughly average taxpayer who doesn't know very much about American tax law or the tax preparation industry. Should I keep ignoring it and filing my taxes by myself, or will I benefit from looking for professional tax advice?
posted by value of information to Work & Money (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm an unmarried 20-something near San Francisco with comfortable but boring finances. I make a salary in the low six digits and I have an investment account with a decent chunk of savings. I've always done my own taxes with the help of one or another piece of e-filing software, and I've basically found it easy and straightforward. I would be happy to just do my taxes again like that this year.
However, I'm always open to easy ways to make my life better, and since I don't know very much about tax law or the tax preparation industry, I figure there might be something I'm missing out on. Specifically, I have three questions:
1) What kinds of tax advice, assistance, and preparation are available? I know of the existence of places like H&R Block, but I don't know what services they offer and which might be helpful to me.
2) If I do pay someone for tax advice or preparation, is it likely that they will find some clever but legal things to recommend me such that I magically owe less money? (Either by saving me money on my current taxes, or by giving good advice that will save me money in the future.)
3) Will I be at substantially less risk of screwing up my taxes and owing a fine later? For example, if I give a tax preparer correct information and then they mis-file my taxes, are they liable instead of me? Is this even a large enough risk to be worth considering?
Thanks in advance for any informed opinions! It's hard to Google for this stuff because there's so much spam and advertising.