Tax season begins soon. And that means people across the country will frantically be trying to find the best deal on preparing their taxes. Some will do them the long way, by filling out a 1040. Others will turn to one of the many software programs available. And some will enlist the help of a Billings accountant.
Those who do their taxes on their own are usually trying to save money. Accountants in Billings can be expensive. However, they don’t have to be. We want to be your Billings accountant, and we have positioned ourselves to make sure we can prepare your taxes at the lowest cost possible.
In the end, you are better off using an accountant for tax preparation than learning how to do your own taxes. Here’s why.
An Accountant can get a Bigger Tax Refund
When you use an accountant to help you prepare your taxes, you generally receive a larger tax refund than if you were to do your own taxes. This isn’t guaranteed, but it is often the case. Here’s how your Billings accountant can help you get a bigger tax refund.
Let’s suppose you are doing your own taxes. During 2015 you took some college classes, and you know that you can claim one of the education credits. Good start, but which do you claim? The American Opportunity Credit? The Hope Credit? The Lifetime Learning Credit? You can’t claim more than one, so you have to make sure to claim the one that is going to maximize your refund.
Doing your taxes on your own might end up with you choosing the wrong credit. Sure you’ll get some money back, but you could have received MORE money back. When you use an accountant, they will crunch the numbers and make sure that you are getting the most back that you possibly could.
When it’s a choice between three credits, all of which you know about, it isn’t quite as hard to maximize your tax refund. But what if there are deductions available that you didn’t even know about? There are plenty of those deductions around, and having a Billings accountant, especially one that you have worked with for a while and he or she knows your situation, will help you deduct the most from your income that is legally allowed.
The end result is that if you do your own taxes, your refund is often smaller than if you were to let an accountant do your taxes for you.
An Accountant can Save you Time
Preparing a tax return takes time. It all comes down to who spends that time: you, or your accountant in Billings, MT. Let’s look at the time spent doing taxes in various ways.
Taxes by Form – Most people won’t do their taxes by filling out a form 1040. It’s simply too confusing, and with all of the software programs out there, why spend the extra time? There are some who still do. In fact, we know of former accounting students who went on to pursue different careers that do their taxes the long way every year because it’s a bit of nostalgia for them. If it’s a hobby, then spend as much time on your taxes as you want. If it’s not, then you are spending as much as 8 hours doing your taxes by hand in order to save a little bit of money.
Taxes by Software – Companies like Tax Act and TurboTax know that people are not going to sit down and do their taxes by hand. They also know that most people don’t want to spend money on an accountant. For a long time there was this middle ground. People had to spend the money, or spend the time. Tax preparation software filled that gap. They offer low cost software that helps you prepare your own taxes, but you don’t have to spend the high costs on an accountant. It still takes time though. Plugging in all of your data can take about 4 hours.
Taxes by Accountant – You alternative to filling out the forms or plugging numbers into the software program is to have an accountant handle your taxes. There are a couple of ways you can do this. If you are in Billings, you can swing by the Practical Taxes office and drop off your tax documents. Or, you can make an appointment and sit down with an accountant in order to have your taxes prepared (this gives you the opportunity to talk to the accountant and make sure everything is in order). Alternatively, you can send in your documents electronically. This is great for those that are out of town. Sign up with an account on ePractical Taxes, and you don’t even have to leave the house! The time using an accountant 5 to 60 minutes.
Your choices have a wide range. Those who do their taxes the long way by hand can spend 8 or more hours. Those who choose to have a Billings accountant do the work for them spend essentially no time on their taxes.
An Accountant can Ultimately Save you Money
The idea that you save money with an accountant is counter intuitive for most people. They think that an accountant charges far more than using a tax software or doing their taxes by hand. But there are several factors that come into play here.
Doing Taxes by Hand – Using our example above, doing your taxes by hand takes about 8 hours. Let’s suppose you value your time at $25 per hour; you are spending $200 to do your own taxes. And let’s suppose that using an accountant can get you a refund that is $200 larger than if you do your own taxes. The end result: doing taxes by hand doesn’t appear to cost you anything, but in reality it costs $400.
Doing Taxes with Software – Again using our example above. If you use a tax software you can likely buy the software for $25. You then spend 4 hours ($100 worth of time) to complete your own tax return. But you don’t maximize your refund, so you end up with $200 less than if you used a Billings accountant. The end result: you spend $25 out of pocket, $100 in time, and $200 in a lower return. A total of $325.
Using an Accountant – Let’s suppose you upload everything to ePractical Taxes. Your time commitment is essentially nothing. Your Billings accountant prepares your taxes for $125. The end result: you spend $125 out of pocket, nothing in time, and get more back. A total of negative $75 spent.
Naturally your situation will vary depending on how much time you spend, how big your refund is, how much you miss, and how much you would otherwise spend on an accountant. But for many people, using an accountant in Billings, MT would result in a net gain of $75, as opposed to spending $400 doing it the “cheapest” way possible.
An Accountant is Always Here
If you do your own taxes by hand, you rely only on yourself. You can Google some answers, but for the most part you are your only resource.
If you use a tax software, there is a help section and an online forum where you can ask questions (other users will do their best to answer). But you have to spend extra in order to have access to an accountant that can actually answer your questions (the right way).
If you use an accountant in Billings, your accountant is always here. If you have questions during the preparation period, your accountant can answer. If you have questions in June, the accountant will be there. If you have questions that come up, no matter what the month is, an accountant will be there. The same can’t be said for online tax programs, or even the big national tax preparers that are in business 3 months out of the year.
An Accountant does more than Tax Preparation
Most people don’t need to worry about much more than having their taxes prepared. As employees they have taxes deducted from their wages all year long. When tax season comes along, they file a return, and they’re done with taxes until next year.
But there are some that need ongoing services. Business owners have payroll and quarterly taxes that need to be filed. Those who are wealthy have estate issues, trusts, and other money problems that need to be solved on an ongoing basis.
Your Billings accountant can help solve all of those issues for you. Don’t waste your time writing paychecks, let Practical Taxes help. Don’t worry about whether you are filing on time; let Practical Taxes do it all for you.
You focus on running (and growing) your business, we focus on taking care of the finances.
Practical Taxes is your Choice as a Billings Accountant
We know you have choices. And we strive to provide exemplary customer service. In the end you get an accountant preparing your taxes, you save money, you save time, and you have an advocate for all of your financial needs.
Want to learn more about how we will be the best accountant in Billings to handle your needs? Feel free to give us a call at 406-894-2050.