There is a myriad of tax preparation services out there that can help navigate the process of filing income and other taxes. This process is often confusing due to the many numbers as well as the types of forms and taxes involved. However, filing improperly can lead to audits, loss of income, and even jail time in extreme cases. Therefore, it is imperative that you file your taxes properly. As a financial professional, you may be familiar with the various companies and entities that offer tax filing services. What you may not be aware of, is that many of these entities offer various supplemental services. Read on to discover 5 low-cost tax prep services for professionals.
Online Tax Preparation
Online tax preparation is the first supplemental tax service offered by many tax prep companies, and the most widespread. Preparing taxes online is often much cheaper than doing so in person. However, the cost of doing so depends on your tax situation. If it’s simple, with the most basic deductions, the cost will be low. If you, for example, own a home or small business, the cost of filing will go up. In addition, you can perform this service remotely, which allows you to meet with a CPA, financial tax advisor, or other professional without leaving your home. Surely, online tax preparation is a great low cost tax prep service for professionals.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) is another tax prep service for professionals who earn less than $54,000 annually. It also helps the elderly, disabled, and non-English speakers. The program is funded by grants from the IRS, and has locations in various public spaces. These include libraries, schools, and shopping malls. Most are open during tax season, from February through April. Simply stop in and the professionals there will help you file your tax return, with most e-filing it as well. Sites can be found using a tool on the IRS’s website, or by calling a toll-free number. Absolutely, the VITA program is a stellar low-cost tax prep service.
Software that allows you to self-file your taxes is an additional tax prep service offered by many tax preparation companies. Similar to online tax prep, the cost is heavily dependent on how complex your tax situation is. Filing a simple return when doing it yourself is completely free, however. In addition, there is various software for this purpose, each with different strengths and weaknesses. Examples of these include live technical support, multiplatform options, and refund insurance. Of course, do-it-yourself software is a stellar low-cost tax prep service.
Filing in person with a local accountant for small business is perhaps the most basic way to file your taxes. However, it is still a great low-cost tax service if you find a competent preparer. Eighty percent of people who used tax preparers never asked about their preparer’s credentials. Seventy-five percent never asked if the preparer would represent them in the event of a tax audit. It’s imperative to make sure your preparer is legit and will have your back for these reasons. A good way of doing this is to only deal with properly credentialed preparers, such as those with CPA certification. In addition, make sure they use the IRS’s e-file system and sign your return. Indubitably, preparing with a tax professional is an awesome low-cost tax prep service, but only if you do your homework.
Besides VITA, there are various grant programs designed to help certain groups file their taxes. Some of these groups include the elderly and military personnel. In the case of the elderly, community organizations provide them with free tax preparation. Note that while the elderly are prioritized, this grant program has no age requirement. For the military, the Department of Defense provides free tax software as well as financial and legal resources to military members and their families. This called the MilTax program. Professionals are also available via phone and live chat to help MilTax taxpayers. In addition, the VITA program provides MilTax members with face-to-face help. Certainly, these various grant programs are an incredible low-cost tax prep service.
Do not take tax preparation lightly, as there is a lot of room for error, and the errors can be expensive. Fortunately, many tax prep services such as online tax professionals can help you file properly. You can also estimate your taxes to save money and avoid penalties. In addition, there are many programs and initiatives such as VITA designed to help marginalized communities file. Do-it-yourself software is also a great low-cost prep service, as it can be done from your bedroom and is often free. The most basic form of filing taxes, with a local accountant, is another great idea as long as you verify your preparer’s integrity. Finally, there are many grant programs other than VITA that offer advantages to filing. When shopping for low-cost tax prep services for professionals, consider the points above.