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TAX NEWS - 2010

Choosing A Tax Service

"The taxpayer — that's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination."
- Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States (1911-2004)


President Ronald Reagan always loved to make quips about daily life. Often his humorous observations were laced with truth. Such is the case with his quote on taxes, which point to the reality that instead of working for and being paid by the federal government, they are paying the federal government.

And understanding how to correctly file taxes becomes more complicated every year thanks to changes in tax laws. The confusing nature of taxes, and a lack of time, often leads many to seek the assistance of a tax service.

Before choosing a tax service, however, a taxpayer should ask the following questions:


Why do they need a tax service? Would it be more convenient to do their own taxes or is using a tax service the best option?

Proper income tax preparation is not only about doing things right, but also protecting the individual. It's a given that Uncle Sam will come looking for more money if the government thinks you have make a mistake. But don't expect for money to come back to you when you have made a mistake that prevents you from receiving any additional returns you may have coming. That's why choosing a tax service is the best option if an individual doesn't believe they have the time or knowledge to properly file their return.


Is what the tax service charging reasonable?

As with any service, an individual should make sure the tax service they are using is asking for a price that is competitive. As with anything else, the key to finding the best price is shopping around.


Does the tax service guarantee their work?

As mentioned earlier, the government will come looking for money they are due. It's also possible that improper filing could lead to penalties. For those reasons, it's important that the tax service will attest that its work will be accurate.

Ok, so the decision has been made to use a tax service. The next step involves preparing all pertinent documents they will need to minimize what you must pay and hopefully help you in getting a refund. Information you will need for a tax service includes:

A list of the deductions available to you. You can't list the deductions you are entitled to if you are not aware of them so it's important to review your expenditures in addition to educating yourself on what qualifies as a deduction. Once that is done, prepare a list of deductions for the tax service. All W2 forms sent to you by current or past employers for the tax year in which you are filing. Receipts for purchases you are claiming as deductions, along with receipts and cancelled checks for monetary or material gifts to churches, charity and other organizations.

A tax service may well be the best option for an individual when it comes to filing their taxes. Assuring the tax service meets expectations involves choosing the right one and providing them with all the information they will need.
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