How to Choose a Tax Preparer for Truckers
Think – Who did your income taxes last year? Did they give you good service? Were you happy with the result? Did they even KNOW trucker taxes?
Over a year ago, the TruckingOffice team made a commitment to go beyond simply providing the very best bookkeeping and record keeping services available. We began a search for the very best in other important services that all professional drivers need, like factoring, insurance and tax services.
How to Choose the Right Tax Preparer for Your Finances
If you want your taxes done the right way, it’s a necessary process. These people are responsible for accurately filing your taxes, but they also have access to a lot of personal information. For that reason, trust is the number one factor in this process.
In this post, we’re going to help you choose the right tax professional to get the job done. There are various routes that you can go with this choice, whether it be a tax accountant, an attorney, or an enrolled agent.
Choosing the right one will have implications on your financial situation, which of course, has an impact on your quality of life and the quality of life for those in your household. Let’s find you the right tax professional.
Choosing the Right Tax Preparer
A lot of people hire a tax preparer instead of doing their taxes themselves. However, what most people don’t really think about is that they’re still responsible for any mistakes that occur, not the person that prepares the tax forms
TYPES OF TAX PREPARERS
There are four main types of tax preparers that you’ll be choosing from. They offer different rates and different levels of expertise, so you need to make yourself aware of what each professional is capable of
How to Choose An Income Tax Preparer
Seven years ago, Ruby walked into a commercial tax preparation service and walked out thinking she got a sweet deal. She saw advertisements for a $99 special that would cover the cost of preparing her tax forms and would also give her an advance on her return. The preparer estimated what her return would be and gave her more than 50 percent of it up front.
A couple weeks later she returned for the remainder and learned the deal was not so simple. Fees were hidden in her agreement. She ended up paying $340. And she eventually learned that the preparer made tax claims that shouldn’t have been made, which set the IRS on her and slapped her with $2,800 in penalties.
Be on the lookout for cash advances or short-term loans. Usually these deals come with interest rates ranging from 70 to 700 percent, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). And they can come with electronic filing fees and application fees.
Make sure you give clear direction about whether or not you want the company to file your taxes. Never sign a document permitting it to do so if you are unsure. And always insist on receiving copies of all documents that you are required to sign or that identify the terms of a transaction, according to DATCP
Make sure the preparer has a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number), which preparers must use on federal tax returns, said Lisa Schiller, a spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin. The IRS’s website allows consumers to search for those numbers and see the preparer’s expertise.
How to file your taxes for free
Last year, Americans spent $11 billion dollars on tax-preparation services. Often, that’s money down the drain. There are several ways to file your taxes for free, whether electronically or even, in some cases, with the help of an expert. Here’s a rundown of your options and how to choose what’s best for you.
“Free File” software
If you earn less than $69,000 a year, you can use what’s known as “Free File” software. Made available through the IRS in tandem with commercial tax preparers like TurboTax, H&R Block and TaxSlayer
Here’s the catch: To ensure you won’t be charged, it’s important to access the software through the IRS’ website. Using the tools through other means, including searching online or using an account you set up for free in a previous year, could shift you into a paid product
Case in point: Last year, ProPublica revealed that Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, concealed its free file product from search engines and pushed low-income taxpayers into a paid version. The company now faces a lawsuit over the alleged scheme. Intuit denies the allegations
“Free File Fillable Forms”
If you earn more than $69,000 per year, you can still file your taxes without paying — you just can’t do it with software. Enter Free File Fillable Forms. This tool is the electronic equivalent of filling out a paper tax return, offering the most common tax forms as PDFs that you can submit electronically.
How to Choose a Tax Preparer
It is not uncommon for individuals to shy away from filing their own tax return, whether it is due to time constraints, fear, or a lack of knowledge. However, selecting the best preparer may be a bit challenging if you are unsure of which type best suits your unique situation.
Individuals who are single with no dependents and possess minimal assets, if any, are the perfect candidates for storefront tax return preparation. However, if you have dependents and are entitled to deductions and credits frequently taken by taxpayers, such as the charitable contributions and medical expenses, it still may not be necessary to hire a Certified Public Accountant if the storefront preparer is knowledgable and experienced with tax situations similar to yours.
According to Forbes, will cost you approximately $200 per hour. Therefore, if you desire to soften the blow to your wallet, you should only enlist their services for complex tax situations.
If you have scrutinized the tax code searching for the answer to a specific tax questions to no avail, it is in your best interest to hire a seasoned professional. Otherwise, cutting corners for the sake of cost-savings may come back to haunt you in the form of penalties resulting from audit findings.
Small Business Owners
As a small business owner, there is a ton of information to consider when preparing your tax return. Often, small oversights or mistakes, such as understated income, could end up costing you big if you are audited by the IRS. On your team also helps with tax planning throughout the year, so you will not be hit with a hefty tax bill when it is time to file your annual return.