Tax software and the ability to file taxes online have made many people forego the use of tax accountants in recent years, but there are times when such a professional is the best choice for helping you through tax time. Software and online sites can make it easy for you to file your taxes, but they cannot give you tax advice about your own situation. While you may think that you don't need tax advice when you file, note a few times or circumstances that may make it a better choice to talk to a professional.
1. If you're self-employed, work from home, or own a business
When you're self-employed or if you work from home, you may have expenses and deductions that you overlook and which can be found by a good tax accountant. For example, a portion of your home's utilities might be deductible, as well as your internet connection and even your home phone if these are used for business. An accountant can review your use of these and advise you.
If you're self-employed and travel from job to job, you may be able to deduct depreciation for your car or an amount for wear and tear. Even certain car repairs may be deductible, for instance, if a tire went flat while on the road for business. Again, an accountant can review your own situation and advise if you're overlooking these deductions.
This also applies if you own a business, have major shares in a business, or have your name on any type of business paperwork; you want to speak to an accountant even if you don't work the business yourself and even if it doesn't operate from your home. Having your name on ownership papers gives you certain responsibilities when it comes to the taxes of that business, no matter how large or small. The profits and losses of the business may affect you in the same way as when you're self-employed, so be sure you discuss this situation with a tax accountant before you file.
2. If your personal or financial situation has changed greatly since last year
In many cases, buying or selling a home or other property, getting married, having a child, or facing major expenses from being sick can affect your tax bill. You may be eligible for certain deductions after any of these situations or may have new taxes because of having sold property of any sort. No matter the situation, if you've gone through any major life events from one year to another, consult with a tax accountant. He or she can advise on how this will affect your taxes and your filing so you're protected and file all your paperwork correctly.