Ah, tax time. Isn’t it the most wonderful time of the year? Or is that just me?
I love watching everyone scurrying to get their last minute filing done. Oh and what about those people standing at intersections, wearing their Statue of Liberty or Uncle Sam costumes? It’s really the best of Halloween and Christmas rolled into one.
Well, not everyone agrees with me about all the Uncle Sams and Lady Liberties. “I sometimes ask people, ‘Do you want a guy in a costume to handle your taxes?’ Of course, the guy actually doing the paperwork probably won’t be the guy standing near the traffic, but he’s also not the person you want dealing with your bottom line,” says Gary Marriage, Jr., CEO of Nature Coast Financial Advisors and a professional advisor to CPAs.
“I know millionaires who go to these pop-up tax firms; they’d rather spend a few hundred dollars on their return than a grand or two with a skilled CPA,” says Marriage. “But this apparent savings comes at a cost, because a good accountant is likely to find many thousands of dollars in savings in a single tax return, and they are far less liable to make a mistake.”
Marriage offers additional tips for consideration this tax season:
Have your records handy and consider a long-term relationship
Not only is it advantageous to file taxes through a CPA, it’s also smart to have all relevant records readily available at your disposal – no matter who is helping you with your return.
“Not only do I strongly advise you to use a reputable CPA that you can trust, I also think you should try to establish a long-term relationship with him or her,” Marriage says. “Think of a financial professional as similar to a doctor or lawyer – the better they know you, the better off you’ll be. High-net-worth individuals have the most incentive for professional financial services, even if they’ve made a hobby of saving money by doing things their own way.”