Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Getting Ready for Tax Season--Part 1

Each month, I send my regular clients a selection of tips and advice on real estate, home ownership, finances and other life issues. This month, we focus on getting ready for tax season. Today in the blog, I will look at whether you should hire a CPA or do your taxes yourself and tomorrow I'll blog about some of the paperwork you will need. (And, we'll get back to real estate next week!)

Every year, many of us struggle to select the best method of preparing and filing our tax returns. It is never too soon to start thinking about the upcoming tax deadline. In fact, the sooner you make your tax preparation plans, the better organized you will be and the more likely you are to prevent any mistakes or costly accidental omissions. But, do you ever wonder if it better to do your taxes on your own or whether you should hire a tax professional?


This might be the best method if you are itemizing your deductions or you expect your tax return to be complicated. Ask you friends or families (or me!) for a referral to a great CPA. The good thing is that tax preparation fees are deductible and can usually be recouped. Now, it does take time to organize your records to make the CPA's job easier, but he or she can probably tell you what will be needed.


If your tax return will be relatively simple, this is the way to go, especially if you just have one employer and standard taxes taken out of your paycheck. Preparing them yourself can save you money in the short-term but could also reduce your return or, worse yet, increase your amount owed. Also, this method can be more time consuming, but if hassle-free is your preferred approach, going solo on your taxes should work for you.

Another option is to mix it up! You can prepare your tax return and then pay a tax professional to review it before sending it to the IRS.

Tax season comes at the same time every year, but preparing your files early makes the process easier. I’m here to help make the tax season easier than ever! If you need a referral or would like to be placed on my monthly mailing list, just let me know. I'm always happy to help. I can be reached at 510-547-5970 x57 or

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