Why Taxes Shouldn't Be DIY Projects! Hire an Enrolled Agent!

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We are on the verge of finishing up another of hubby's DIY projects at home, the basement is a mess, dusty, I can barely make my way to the treadmill every morning! I guess it will get done eventually! I use this as an analogy for DIY tax preparers everywhere: Why Hiring An Enrolled Agent To Do Your Taxes is Important? 

Keeping Up With Tax Law Changes: As we turn a page on another year, January dawns bright & peppy. For Enrolled Agents everywhere, it is the time to get ready for another tax season; take update classes, download updates to software programs, send out organizers to their clients & draft new engagement letters. And all of 2013 was spent keeping up with the IRS' minimum 24 per year Continuing Professional Education requirements. What this means to you? An enrolled agent is up-to-date with the latest tax law changes. This is especially important for the 2013 Filing Season. This also means your Enrolled Agent is going to make sure you do no procrastinate till the last minute to file your taxes. 

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Handy Research Tools: Enrolled Agents know how & where to look for answers. They have at their disposal tools to constantly monitor updates. DIY tax software programs in a box, depend on you answering their questions correctly to get you the optimum tax return. Those algorithms work for many whose tax returns are very simple with a couple of W2s and few more items, throw one life changing event in there, like a child going to college/ helping a child paying off a student loan, all of which should have been pre-planned with a professional who would advise you on steps that you need to take before hand. Extensive knowledge of taxes makes an Enrolled Agent aware of the exact filing status for you, make decisions based on numbers whether you should itemize or not and also plan for the future. 

E-Filing Your Tax Returns: How many of you DIY-ers still resort to pen & paper to do your taxes? IRS Statistics have shown that 20% of tax returns are still done by hand. This subjects tax returns to higher chances of math errors, no signatures or dates. The hand done returns are then input into the system before the IRS processes them. This delay in processing can be avoided by e-filing your tax return with an Enrolled Agent. E-filing means faster processing, faster refunds and an option to have any dues directly debited to your bank account.  

Protection From Identity Theft: The IRS reported that identity theft had affected 1.6 million taxpayers in 2013, and that is more than those affected in 2012. An Enrolled Agent
makes sure your personal information is protected always and takes extra precautions to make sure your records are properly processed. 

Tax Planning:  Enrolled Agents are the only federally-licensed tax practitioners who specialize in taxation and have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service. Not all important tax decisions are made during filing time, it's equally important that you are aware of where you may stand at tax time through out the year. An Enrolled Agent keeps track of your finances in relation to taxes, and helps you plan accordingly, so there are no surprises. These decisions involve withholding taxes, retirement contributions, flexible spending accounts etc. 

Why should I choose an enrolled agent who is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents?: The enrolled agent is the most expansive license IRS grants a tax professional. Enrolled agents are generally unrestricted as to which taxpayers they can represent, what types of tax matters they can handle, and the IRS offices before which they practice. 
IRS recommends using a tax preparer that is a member of a professional organization that offers continuing education and other resources, and holds members to a code of ethics. NAEA goes beyond IRS’ recommendations by requiring members to fulfill continuing education requirements that exceed the IRS’ required minimum. 
In addition, NAEA members must adhere to a stringent Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct. Members of NAEA belong to a strong network of experienced, well-trained tax professionals who effectively represent their clients and work to make the tax code fair and reasonably enforced.

As always, read my disclaimer here. Please consult a qualified tax professional for your unique tax needs. 
More of my contact information is on my website, www.mntaxsolutionsllc.com


  1. It would be a smart choice to find expatriate tax services around to help you with your tax preparation and update regarding the latest changes with the law concerning taxes.

  2. Tax return preparation is not a sound do-it-yourself project for most individuals. Quite a few taxpayers struggle with basic tax scenarios that entail claiming dependents and selecting a filing status. Come to think about it, so do some inexperienced low-cost tax preparers. Looking over the free sample Enrolled Agent exam questions at http://fastforwardacademy.com/enrolled-agent-exam-prep.htm is enough to convince taxpayers of the expertise possessed by Enrolled Agents and persuade novice tax practitioners to upgrade their knowledge to EA certification.

    1. Thanks Brian. It literally does "pay" to go with professional who have taken the time to specialize.

    2. When I taught basic tax preparation courses I would tell the students that the first 5 chapters were the hardest and if they could get past the filing status, dependency exemptions and dependent related credits parts (CTC, EIC, 2441...) then the rest of the course was a breeze. Everything else is black & white. Wages go on line 7, interest on line 8, etc. -- no guess work or grey zones.

    3. Hi Vicki, Thanks for stopping by my blog! You are right about the first 5 chapters. It is those very topics that stump most DIYers and they either under reporting & missing out on credits or over reaching & setting themselves up for possible audits! And for those who don't have the time to educate themselves on this should not take chances & just go see a professional!


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