Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
I started my tax career in a national CPA firm a long time ago. What shocked me about filing taxes with this particular firm was that it was charging $250 to prepare a simple tax return. What’s the big deal? Back then, $250 got you a nice two-bedroom apartment. Today, that same apartment would run about $2,000. Get it?
So I wrote a book about how to prepare your own tax return and offered $10 workshops to the public to teach people how to do it themselves. (This was long before DIY tax software—or even PCs.) A funny thing happened. No matter how much I simplified it, most of the people at those workshops insisted on paying me to prepare their tax returns.
The world is very different now. The IRS and a variety of tax software developers have teamed up to provide free tax software designed to help about 70 percent of taxpayers file their tax returns. Yet while many people will qualify for free filing, there are still some circumstances where you’ll need to enlist the help of a tax pro.
Who should always use a tax pro?
1) People with extensive securities investments, especially when the investments are spread over different accounts, IRAs, and other retirement vehicles.
There are certain overlapping transactions that might take place in these accounts that the IRS would consider “wash sales.” No losses on those transactions would be permitted. A good tax pro would catch something like that.
Working with a qualified tax pro can also help you identify which lots of securities to sell before you sell them. This would give you the most tax-beneficial gain or loss, depending on the holding period and basis (tax cost).
2) Business owners always, always, always (did I say “Always?”) should work with a tax pro in their corner. Frankly, anyone who does not is leaving money on the table and is apt to have the business fail within the first five years. Why? Either the business will fail due to disorganized management, or it will fail due to tax problems that likely will result from messed-up payroll taxes, sales taxes, and income taxes.
Not only can a good tax pro help you with tax issues but most of us also know a lot about business management, operations, and break-even analysis. Plus, we have community contacts to help build your sales and cut your costs. We may even be able to help you get financing when your business needs it—or before.
3) Folks who want enough money on which to live when they retire. This doesn’t just include IRAs and 401(k)s, it also includes all sources of income-producing assets that will allow you to live comfortably for the 30 to 60 years after you stop working. Tax pros can help your family avoid estate and gift taxes when consulted before the transactions take place.
Tax pros are actually pretty useful people. We have knowledge, experience, and contacts. Check out a previous article of mine for more guidance on finding the right tax pro.
Eva Rosenberg, EA is the publisher of TaxMama.com , where your tax questions are answered. Eva is the author of several books and ebooks, including the new edition of Small Business Taxes Made Easy. Eva teaches a tax pro course at IRSExams.com and tax courses you might enjoy at http://www.cpelink.com/teamtaxmama.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.