Imagine: The government, which already takes taxes out of your paycheck, files your taxes for you. There are no deadlines or extensions; doing taxes simply does not exist as a thing any more. That’s the reality in Ireland and other countries in Europe, and they’re not shy of levying criticisms at our labor-intensive and expensive way of doing things.

Of course, here in the land of reality (US of A), we still have to contend with the rickety old US tax code. Getting your taxes done is big business, and if you don’t already have a trusted CPA, you might be inclined to wade through all the other options.

Big box tax preparers are reminiscent of Spirit Airlines in the way, “they getcha,” with add-ons. Some add-ons are involuntary and add hundreds of dollars to the final bill. Many people are forced to spend more money to file taxes because an additional form is required and, “Any other forms are only available through the premium plan.” 

When all is said and done, the big-box tax preparers end up costing just as much as a nice CPA with a quiet office. 

The process of choosing a CPA is a serious one, but I have found that liking your CPA goes a long way in establishing a working relationship. Part of my vetting process includes seeing if the person has a blog — because more often than not, a blog shows that a person loves their job. Reviews are also helpful, but the most helpful reviews come from people you know — so be brave and make that social media post where you reach out to your followers with a question. 

As time goes on, accountants are going to start organizing people into “before April 17,” and “after April 17” batches. You’ve still got plenty of time to do your taxes, but the only way to ensure you are in that first batch is to act soon.

No matter what form of tax preparation you choose, you will need to gather all of your documents together. In my previous post, Taxes: The Gathering, I discuss all the things a CPA will need from you.

JHA can help you find an accountant close to you — so that you won’t run afoul of new local laws or other one-offs the big box preparers haven’t learned about yet. Contact us.