Why Not DIY?
Ernie Neve, CPA
March 12, 2020
Every year, we get a lot of the same questions. It could be “how do I get another copy of my W2?” or “Do I need to keep this 1095?”
…But we get them.
In the last few years, though, we’ve started getting more questions based on the tax preparation software on the market and the safety of it – both from the identity theft side of things as well as the accuracy of the software.
Let me say this – over the course of many years, so many taxpayers have had questions about how this or that should be paid that I believe – with a few exceptions – tax software is more trouble than it’s worth.
Now, I don’t say that from a place of greed, mind you. It comes from a place of service. For a kid with one or two W-2s, no retirement or mortgage, yes, almost any tax software on the market makes filing their return easy.
In fact, I’ve even recommended to clients that doing so with their kids to teach them how taxes work would be a great tool for them to learn.
…But as you add variables, with spouses, dependents, alimony, maybe a home office for a spouse who works remotely, mortgage payments, and so on? It can become very complicated and mistakes can be made.
Some years ago, an acquaintance of mine in Northern California shared a story with me that I’ve recounted here before. It bears retelling now…
My friend’s client had a successful manufacturing business and was doing very well – multiple seven-figure years eight years running. He was relying on a part-time bookkeeper and a borrowed copy of TurboTax to run it all!
Eventually, a much larger company we’ve all heard of showed an interest in purchasing his company, but one of the key points they wanted was a complete audit of his financials for the last three years.
You guessed it – they were a wreck! Now, the man began to get smart and hired a CPA and bookkeeper to go back and make sure everything was right – and the truth was, all the numbers were good, it was simply sloppy.
When they finally recreated everything to the satisfaction of the purchasing company, guess what else they had found?
This gentleman had overpaid taxes to both the State of California and the United States – over $200,000!
So here’s my take on doing it yourself – it absolutely makes sense if you have all your data and feel comfortable about it. If your return is getting more and more complicated?
It might be time to come in out of the cold and sit down with us – especially if you have older children that are beginning to move into the workplace and are now experiencing more complex returns.
Yes, we can absolutely take the time to share how it’s done and get them taken care of.
It’s worth mentioning, though, that this is the busiest time of the year, so if you haven’t filed yet, you REALLY need to get moving. Our days are packed, but we will still make the time to help you and your family.
All the best-