Tax Guide

Sometimes it's easier to hire pro to handle taxes

Posted February 8, 2011

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— The 1040 form is two pages that often mean misery for millions of taxpayers.

Heather Linton, a certified public accountant, said it often makes sense for people to do their own taxes, but there are situations where they should hire a professional.

"Depending on their income and the complexity of the situation, if it's really pretty simple, they should go for it themselves," Linton said.

Any kind of business activity, moving into or out of the state or selling items like stocks, real estate or businesses, can complicate returns and require outside help, she said. Going to a professional also might save someone money, she said.

"Because we do know the tax laws, we might be aware of some tax breaks that could actually help save them money upfront," she said.

Still, Linton said, savings are never guaranteed.

"I have to say that most professionals are really looking for ways to save money," she said.

Jane Smith said she usually does her own taxes but is considering hiring someone to handle them this year because her daughter has college expenses.

"I did a lot of research on the IRS site, and I think I've got it figured out," Smith said. "I'm going to at least try and do it on my own."

Linton said going to a tax preparation service usually costs a couple of hundred dollars, while hiring a CPA will cost between $500 and $1,000.


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