Thursday, March 1, 2007
More Bang for Your Buck: Tax Prep
This tax season, many people will have to decide how to prepare their records for Uncle Sam. In tonight's More Bang For Your Buck, Seven's Tom Haynes tells us why, for some, it might pay to spend more when filing those returns.
WSVN -- A Few years ago, Peggy Gasior was doing her own taxes with ease.
Peggy Gasior: "It was very straightforward. W2, the EZ form, you follow the instructions, and you just file it."
But that was before she married a musician and started her own business. Now, things are a little more complicated.
Peggy Gasior: "There's all these issues of what can you write off at what percentage."
Like a lot of us, Peggy realized she was going to have to call in a professional.
Something tax professor Dr. Diana Falsetta says is common.
Dr. Diana Falsetta: The more complex your return is, the more complex it is to prepare it. And, obviously, even the most basic return for the most average individual is difficult to prepare."
But how do you decide which program is going to give you more bang for your buck?
Falsetta says if you have one or two W2's and no deductions, you could go the do-it-yourself route -- like going to a store front firm or using computer programs.
But -- keep in mind -- you still need to know the rules.
Dr. Diana Falsetta: "If you don't know something is deductible, it might miss the available option of deduction for you. If you don't know something is taxable, then it might not pick up that item."
Instead, it might be worth your dollar to find an expert who can assist you and add that personal touch.
Dr. Diana Falsetta: "You have income coming from corporations, small businesses or you have a variety of activities, then that expertise would be needed for that individual."
If you do choose to hire a CPA, shop around -- prices can vary from firm to firm.
If you can, get a recommendation, and make sure it's a reputable firm. Ask for references.
As for Peggy, she and her husband decided they didn't need the stress and hired an accountant.
Peggy Gasior: "They are very complicated, and we pretty much don't want to do them incorrectly."
One more tip -- if you can't pay for a CPA and feel overwhelmed by the thought of filing yourself, the IRS offers free tax prep services to those qualifying for their low-income program.
And levine's tips are good for anyone who feels like they are always short on time.
If you need that extra motivation, log on to Levine's website and download a free calendar that will give you daily guidance on how to manage your time. Print one off and keep it by your workspace.
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