Taxes: Being Prepared and Choosing Preparers

April To-Do List

(posted on 4/1/13)Whether you have filed your taxes yet or not, April is a fine time for you to review your record keeping and filing procedures and make a choice of tax preparers.

√ Create a Great Filing System:
The choices for filing and storage of documents has never been greater and easier to use. Using the Cloud, downloading a program or setting up a file are not the hard parts. The difficult part is maintaining the discipline to update regularly all tax-related information including donations, deductions, interest, and all types of income.

√ Review Your Passwords:
April is also a good time to review your passwords. For those sites or files that you wish to be secure, be certain that your passwords are a combination of upper case and lower case letters and numbers. Another trick is to make your password an acronym of something only you are aware of, such as “My car insurance policy for 2010 Honda” could be a password of “McIpf’10H”

√ Should You Do Your Taxes Yourself?
Should you decide to do your taxes yourself or should you use a tax preparer? The answer, of course is, it all depends. If you have a simple tax profile and are so inclined, there are ample free services, including the IRS, and there are online tax services that can guide you efficiently through tax form preparation.

√ Hire a Tax Expert:
If you decide to use a tax preparer or a tax preparation firm, be certain that the preparer is an expert of taxes. You should ask to make certain that you are hiring a tax expert. Do not allow someone simply “trained” in taxes to help you. Because a person is a CPA or an attorney does not mean that the preparer is an expert on taxes.

√ Put All Tax Info on a Flash Drive:
Maximum safety and security is achieved if you put all tax information on a flash drive and refrain from disclosing sensitive and unique personal data on unsecured sites. Remember that the IRS does not email personal communications.

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