When Do You Need A CPA To Do Your Taxes?

Posted on: 2 April 2019

If you've waited until the last minute—yet again—to complete your income tax return, you're not alone. But unfortunately, finding a tax professional to assist you at this late stage can sometimes be a challenge. Despite this, there are a few situations in which obtaining an extension and seeking out the services of a certified public accountant (CPA) is far preferable to going the do-it-yourself route. Read on for three situations in which it can make sense to enlist a CPA's tax prep help.

You Own a Business

Many of today's sophisticated tax software programs are specifically geared toward business owners, providing handy calculators for employee benefit deductions, depreciation expenses, and other costs of doing business. But while these programs may be able to adequately and accurately calculate your tax owed, they're not generally designed to provide you with advice on structuring your business or its transactions to take advantage of tax benefits.

It can be wise to enlist the help of a CPA in not only preparing your taxes for the current tax year but in also helping you make a plan for the future. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) provided many business-friendly benefits, but some of these provisions revert within the next decade, so business owners who take advantage of these changes now will be well-positioned to shore up their financial reserves for future years.   

You've Just Inherited Non-Cash Assets

With the repeal of the nationwide estate tax, there's no longer any risk that you'll be on the hook for federal income taxes if you've recently come into a substantial sum of money. But many states still have estate tax laws on the books, and the inheritance of non-cash assets (like rental properties, businesses, or trusts to be administered for another's benefit) can sometimes come with their own tax headaches. Don't risk losing a chunk of your inheritance to taxes when you can take steps to preserve these assets; meet with a CPA to determine your rights, responsibilities, and options.

You've Been Audited Before

If you've already undergone one or more IRS audits, you're well-versed in the time and stress these reviews can cause. Unfortunately, those who have been audited in the past may be more likely targets for future random audits, and if you've been using a tax program to prepare and file your income taxes, an audit notice could leave you scrambling to find and download all the documents you'll need. Having a CPA prepare your tax forms for you not only provides you with expert approval of all your deductions and credits, but it also gives you a head start toward defending yourself in an IRS audit.