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Should I go to an accountant or get a program to do my taxes?

I just opened a small business in May (yea!) as a sole-proprietorship. I’ve spent a ton on business related items to get me started. The only thing I’ve done with taxes is file my sales tax returns…otherwise I am CLUELESS when it comes to taxes, deductions the whole bit. Would you suggest going to an accountant for this first time around or getting a program like tax pro? I’m a resident of NH but temporarily living CA (where I pay my sales tax to)–do the computer programs account for those sort of “weird” circumstances?

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10 Responses to “Should I go to an accountant or get a program to do my taxes?”

  1. voxninerbox said:

    if you’re not claiming a lot of deductions – use the software.

    If you’re claiming a lot of deductions – use an accountant so that you don’t misfile your deductions, or neglect any that you weren’t sure of.

  2. tanks_mommy said:

    I would say go to an accountant…only because you can’t have a conversation with or learn how taxes work from a computer. Call around and see if there is an accountant who would be willing to help you do your taxes rather than do them for you. That way you can get an understanding of what’s going on with your money. Perhaps a friend of a friend???

  3. Bren said:

    I would definitely recommend going to an accountant. A new business can create a lot of different tax issues, and if you aren’t familiar with tax laws, you could miss out on some deductions, or even deduct too much. This is especially true because of your residency. Good luck!

  4. Lisali said:

    You could get a program that accounted for all those things, but it would be fairly expensive and complicated. It might be easier to get your taxes done this year, and try it yourself next year once things are less complicated, and you will be able to reference back to this year.

    My mom used to work for H&R Block, and it seems like a really quality place. The prices are really reasonable (probably cheaper than what you’d pay an accountant), and they guarantee the largest refund you’re entitled to. Also, if they make a mistake, they pay the penalties and refund your fee to them.

    If you do them yourself and end up nervous that there are any mistakes, you can submit it to H&R Block online, and they will check and submit it.

  5. waggy_33 said:

    I would recommend that you contact a CPA at least for the first year. There are elections that a new business has to make related to start – up expenses, organization expenses, depreciation, methods of accounting and some other matters that need to be done right.
    Fill in the blank firms such as H & R Block are good for simple returns but when you get more complex, such as starting up a business I don’t think the experience and technical knowledge is there.
    A computer program can help with tax preparation. They have gotten better over the years but you still need to know some tax law in order to get it right.

  6. Diane W said:

    If you need someone to maintain your books you would want to hire an accountant but that can be expensive if you only have a small business that is just starting out. I’ve worked for H&R Block since 1983 and I can tell you that regular accountants do not specialize in taxes. Many never take another tax course once they get their CPA but will still prepare taxes for extra money. I’m not trying to put them down or start trouble here, it’s just that I have fixed many returns that CPA’s have prepared because most do not take tax courses for their continuing education since they would only use tax courses for a short part of the year.

    Everyone who works for H&R Block is required to take a minimum of 60 hours of tax classes each year just to be rehired. Even a first year preparer can complete a Schedule C, but we don’t place those types of returns with the new people. You can request an appointment with someone who has alot of experience with self-employment returns and you will be well taken care of. You could even go to H&R Block’s Premium office where they prepare taxes for Corporations, Partnerships, Estates and Trusts, but that would be overkill. You really just need to sit down with a tax professional and let them answer all of your questions. Once you do that this first year, you may feel comfortable preparing them yourself in the future. I don’t recommend you do your own this year.

    Also, you can take the tax course during the summer and you will be more than able to prepare your returns in the future. Honestly, your taxes are not as wierd as you may think. You just need to let someone who specializes in tax preparation show you a few things and you will be fine.

    Good luck,
    Diane

  7. crazydave said:

    A program will work OK, but an accountant would probably be better in your situation.

  8. Tanya E said:

    Do need an accountant. Just do not go to H&R Blok and the likes, they will not talk to you. Get a small local firm (1-2 CPA’s).

  9. Judy said:

    I agree with all the people who have suggested an accountant, at least for this first year. They can answer questions and make suggestions to you on ways to minimize taxes. They’ll probably save you as much as their fee is.

    After the first year, then you can choose whether to continue to have the accountant do the taxes, or do them yourself following what they do this year.

    H&R Block are NOT the people to go to in your situation.

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