Eight Signs You're in Over Your Head with Your Taxes

Community Manager

An increasing number of Americans are doing their taxes themselves thanks to a variety of affordable tax programs like the BECU member discount to TurboTax —up to a $20 discount when you file with TurboTax through BECU.  But, is there a time when you should turn to a professional instead of taking a DIY approach to your taxes?


Here are eight signs that it’s time to call in a tax expert:


  1. You Have a Complex Tax Return 

If you have a normal 9-5 job, then your taxes are probably straightforward. However, if you have side jobs, a small business, own a rental property, or have other sources of income then things can get tricky.


A tax software can’t ask follow-up questions, interpret complex or murky information, or clarify the finer details, but a tax professional can. No matter what your situation, a tax professional has likely seen it all before and knows what to do.


  1. You Need to Pay Estimated Tax 

Estimated tax is tax that is not withheld (like income tax). If you are self employed, retired, receive dividends from investments or have other sources of income then you are required to pay your estimated tax quarterly. For more information visit the IRS website.


  1. You Were Married, Divorced, or Lost a Spouse this Tax Season

 Major life events can have major tax implications. When you are standing at the altar or grieving the loss of a spouse you probably aren’t thinking about your taxes, but tax professionals are.


To start a new life together, or continue with a healthy financial footing despite your loss, you need to ensure that all your taxes are in order. Often, if a serious life event takes place near tax season, people forget about taxes altogether or simply can’t shoulder the stress of filing taxes on top of everything else, which can be extremely problematic.


  1. You Bought a House or Started College

 Milestones like buying a home or starting college are just as significant as marriage or the loss of a loved one in terms of their tax implications. You could stand to gain a lot by filing your taxes correctly, and on time, but you could lose just as much if you mis-file or file late.


  1. You Want to Make a Long-Term Plan

Not all tax professionals focus on just ‘reporting’ (ie. filing taxes), many specialize in long-term tax planning. This is especially useful if you anticipate a change in your financial future or want to pursue long-term planning for your retirement.


  1. You are Overwhelmed or Stressed

Some people simply do not have the time to file their own taxes. If you value your time enough then hiring an accountant is a no-brainer. They will take on the bulk of the work leaving you with more free time to relax or tackle your already hectic schedule.


Hiring an accountant is an easy solution to the stress of tax time - let someone else worry about it. But don’t leave the task of hiring someone to the last minute –accountants are very busy during tax season, and some may be too busy to take on new clients.   


  1. You’re Worried About an Audit

 If you’ve been audited (or are concerned that you may be) then getting everything in perfect order is a necessity. Hiring an accountant is your best option to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.


  1. You’re Intimidated by Numbers

Let’s face it, not everyone is great with math or negotiating tax regulations, that is why accountants exist!


Do you prefer to do your taxes yourself or hire someone?

1 Comment

I have completed my taxes for all of my adult life and that includes going to college repeatedly, buying and selling homes, supporting children through college and the list goes on and on.  Yes, it is very challenging and if there was a voice a BECU member could consult or engage this might help provide some level of support even if the question cannot be answered.  The best approach to challenge outlined above is for BECU members to not feel alone and they have choices. 

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