Dealing with taxes, especially debts owed to the IRS, can be a real headache. If you file incorrectly, you can wind up being asked to pay more than you actually owe. If you can’t afford to make your IRS payments, you can start a spiral of debt that you will never be able to pay down. The list of people who don’t need professional advice is a lot shorter than the list of people who can benefit from a professional’s help, so we’ll run down a quick list of the exceptions:
Low Wage Professionals Who Have Their Taxes Deducted (and Who Are Not in Debt),
If you made very little money last year (less than five figures), you live alone, and your employer deducts your taxes for you, then you will be able to figure out the basics in filing for your tax return. You will actually be missing out on some benefits and breaks that you don’t know about, but when you’re only expecting a very small amount in tax returns, you have to wonder if it’s worth the effort to get that last ten dollars owed to you.
(Some of) The Unemployed (Who Are Not in Debt)
If you didn’t make any money at all last year, and if you’ve worked with a professional every other year and you’re certain that everything is square, that you owe nothing, and nobody owes you, then there’s not much reason to bother speaking to a tax professional.
In truth, there aren’t many people out there who can’t possibly benefit from the advice of a tax expert. This is true not only around tax season, it’s also true when you’re buying a new house, when you’re starting a new job, and especially when you’re settling your debts.
Any time large amounts of money are changing hands, you’re looking at an opportunity to get into debt, or to get more deeply into debt to the IRS. A tax professional can help you to settle those debts, and to keep from developing new debts in the first place.
The short answer to the question of when to bring in a professional would be: as early as possible. This is especially true if you’re in debt, or if the possibility of debt to the IRS is in your future, in which case the time to involve an expert is now.
An expert can clear up discrepancies, help you settle with the IRS for less than you owe, and even keep your situation from worsening. The more time spent talking with a tax professional, the less time you’re going to spend worrying about what you owe the IRS.