Photo: Flickr / rangerholton
A lot of folks looking to save a few bucks do their own taxes.As long as you do them right, there should be no problems.
But some might be tempted to follow last year’s tax return to prepare this year’s forms.
I don’t recommend doing this because you might miss picking up on changes in your tax situation from one year to the next.
If you do your own taxes and you have any doubt about what you are doing, consider finding and hiring a tax professional to look over your tax forms to get their opinion on whether you prepared your return correctly and if you are using all of the forms you might need to file.
And if you’ve found a few errors on your self-prepared tax return, then consider using a service such as H&R Blocks Second Look. For a modest fee, they’ll offer to review your 2010, 2009 and 2008 tax returns, regardless of who prepared them, for accuracy and to ensure you have claimed all eligible credits and deductions.
Their fee for this service is typically $29 per return and it just might be worth it. They claim to have found errors that resulted in tax savings on 2 out of 3 returns.
Here are a few other situations where getting the help of a professional tax preparer is strongly recommended:
Short Sale: If you sold a home in a transaction where the lender allowed you to sell the home for less than the mortgage and cancel the remainder of the debt, then you will need to report this as a short sale. A temporary tax law effective for short sales through 2012 lets these folks avoid reporting the amount of the debt that was cancelled as income. A tax pro can help to ensure you report this properly.