11 Tax Season Tips to Get the Most out of Your Income Tax

stack of tax forms

Tax season is upon us and whether you’re hiring a professional to file yours or you choose to purchase a tax preparation software, it’s always important to get them done right and on time.

Whichever route you go with, in this article we will go over some of the important things to take into consideration when filing your taxes this year. Remember, you have until April 15th to submit your income tax!

Things to Consider Before Hiring a Professional

How much will you pay? Tax preparers vary in the way they charge for their services. Find out if you will be charged by the hour, a flat fee, or depending on the complexity of your return.

Who will be preparing your return? Not all tax professionals are created equal and not all tax professionals have the right to represent you before the IRS in the instance of an audit. You shouldn’t assume that a CPA will be completing your tax return. A tax professional can range from a CPA, tax attorney, or an enrolled agent.

What are the tax preparers credentials? You can find a CPA in your state at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants website and click on “For The Public.” On the CPAverify website, you can verify your credentials and other pertinent information related to the individual you’re considering. To find contact information for the board in your state, go to the website of the National Association Of State Boards Of Accountancy.

Do you qualify for free income tax preparation? The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers IRS-certified volunteers who provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers.

What additional services are available for active service members? If you or one of your family members are active services members in the military, you may be eligible for free tax preparation services. Many military bases have legal offices with tax centers that do free preparation of state and federal taxes.

Will the preparer file your tax returns electronically? More than 90 percent of US tax returns are now e-filed. Electronic filing can reduce errors and result in faster refunds.

What tax preparers should I avoid? Even among trained, certified professionals, there are some bad apples. In particular, you may want to steer clear of a preparer who bases fees on your refund, guarantees a refund, won’t answer your questions, or doesn’t want to sign your return.

What to Know Before Purchasing Tax Preparation Software

How complex is my return? Generally speaking, the more complex your return the more advanced version of the software you will need. Usually, free versions will only be usable for the very simplest tax returns.

Is your computer compatible? Make sure your computer has the necessary system requirements. Also, check to see if the software will work with any other devices on which you plan to use it, such as a tablet or smartphone.

How do you get help? When choosing software, find out if the company offers customer support through a toll-free number, email assistance, or an online live chat.

Are you filing a state tax return? If yes, you may need to pay extra for the state-specific version of the software.

As you can see, there are several factors to take into consideration before choosing the best route to prepare your taxes. Regardless, always be sure that they are done right. If you don’t trust your knowledge even using a specific software, relying on a tax preparer may be the best solution.

We want to make life easier for you. That’s why choosing insurance with Infinity is not complicated like filing your tax return. Simply call one of our friendly agents at 1-800-INFINITY and you will receive a quote within minutes. You may also visit our website for an online quote.

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