Tax Preparation | Brandon

Tax Preparation | Brandon | Garcia and CuadraTime has a funny way of sneaking up on you. Between the demands of your job and your day-to-day routine, you turn around, and suddenly, it is April, and you have not filed your taxes. Filing your taxes is recommended, as it is the law, but do you self-prepare or go to someone else for your tax preparation? It is usually recommended that you seek help from a local Brandon or Tampa professional, and this article will go over the pitfalls that can potentially be experienced, the benefits, and costs of hiring an expert for your needs.

Tax Preparation 101

Before you even consider whom to hire for your tax preparation, or if it is better to self-file, you need to know a few things. Whether you have your own business or are just filing income tax, or whether you live in Brandon, Florida or New York, New York you have to file federal income tax. While the IRS does not officially endorse specific people to use, you are better served going with an agency that employs Enrolled Agents. Enrolled Agents are the closest thing to an official seal of approval, as they are specifically licensed by the federal government and directly accountable to the department of the treasury. Additionally, they each have years of technical experience in the field.

Proceed with Caution

The need to file returns has created a submarket of people willing to do it for you, for a fee. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to weed out those looking to take advantage of you; sometimes those people are less than scrupulous in their dealings and could be potentially dangerous for you, financially. If you walk or drive by a tax preparation office, you might see deals such as ‘free gift if you file with us!’ They may guarantee to get you more than ‘the other guy’ does. These should be seen as red flags —signs that something may not be right— and here are a few to be cognizant of:

  • ‘Free’ expensive gift (ex. iPod, iPhone, flat screen TV) with every return.
  • Asking for a percentage of the return or an obscenely cheap fee (odds are, they are lying or are planning to low-ball you, then stack on miscellaneous ‘fees’).
  • Guarantees you will get a bigger refund than last year when nothing has changed (fudging your deductibles can land you in hot water with the IRS).
  • Requests you put the direct deposit in an account other than your own.
  • Requests you sign blank documents (read everything before you sign; do not sign blank ‘checks’)
  • Refuses to sign the return as the preparer, or request you do it (by law, the tax preparation professional MUST sign the paperwork or provide proof of an e-signature).
  • Unable to produce a PTIN (preparer tax identification number); unless they fall into one of the few exceptions, if they are preparing taxes, they must have a PTIN to do so legally.

Be advised this list does not encompass every possible scam, but rather highlights the most popular of tactics used by scammers in any county, be it Brandon or Bakersfield.

The Benefits of Going with a Tax Preparation Company

So, you have decided to bite the bullet and pay for someone to do your taxes and have avoided the pitfalls of scammers. Great job! You have chosen wisely, as there are a number of benefits to going with a reputable group in Brandon, including:

  • If you end up getting audited, they will have your back. The best tax preparation companies will have some form of audit protection, or may even employ attorneys for this purpose.
  • If you own property or need to file in multiple states, why go through the headache? Leave it to the pros.
  • It is estimated by experts that Americans may be leaving up to a fifth of their returns on the table for underreporting. With the help of the experts, you can get the maximum refund.

Hopefully you have been persuaded to shop around and go with a tax preparation company, instead of doing it yourself. In addition, if you are looking for such services and live in the Brandon or greater Tampa Bay area, give Garcia and Cuadra a call today at 813-415-2431.

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