Are you behind in completing income taxes from prior years? If so, you risk financial loss and legal trouble. But most taxpayers aren't experts in income tax law and procedure, so you do well to seek out professional assistance. While there are many choices as to who can help you get current on your taxes, a certified public accountant (CPA) is the best choice. Why? Here are four savvy reasons.
1. Less Tax Due. If you have several years' worth of returns to complete at once, you risk owing a significant amount of tax due. With the risk of a large combined tax bill, you need a tax preparer who will ensure that each year's taxes are accurate and as low as legitimately possible. This may involve recreating documentation for deductions, sorting through potential expenses, and beating the refund claim statute of limitations. All tax preparers generally have some training in tax law to make this happen, but CPAs have the most knowledge.
2. IRS Representation. Not all tax preparers are allowed to appear and act on your behalf before the IRS. So-called 'unenrolled' tax preparers who complete no IRS certification are allowed to prepare returns, but they cannot represent you before the IRS. Those who complete the Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) have limited representation rights concerning only years they actually prepare returns for. A CPA can assist you with any IRS inquiries common to un-filed taxes, including audits and collections processes.
3. Availability. Many tax preparers are part-time workers—especially those who don't complete any IRS certifications and those with the AFSP designation. This means that after April 15 of each year, you'll have fewer low-end preparers to choose from. You may also find that they work fewer hours, so getting several returns done may take some time. CPAs generally work year-round and maintain more staff during all seasons, making things easier and more reliable.
4. Professional Help. If you've procrastinated about doing back taxes, you likely need the support and motivation that comes with having a tax professional on your side during this time. A CPA knows exactly what you need done, how to do it, and how to keep your worries to a minimum.
No matter what your concerns are when preparing to file prior years, a CPA can surely help. Start making your tax worries disappear by working with an experienced accountant in your area today.