Why I Re-Hired my CPA to do my taxes this year

Last year, there were some minor complications with my move the prior year, so I hired a CPA to prepare my taxes. The CPA I hired also provides tax advice. He was really helpful at helping me figure out how I wanted to split my investments (between my 401(k), what type of IRA, and taxable accounts) to achieve the best taxation and helping me see how amazing contributing to the traditional 401(k) is for my income tax liability!

One thing I learned last year is that it makes the process a lot easier for both sides (client and CPA) when you have all of the documents required to prepare your income tax return before sending any off to your CPA. Last year, I really had no idea where to expect documents from, so I thought I had them all, but then more kept on showing up in the mail. I didn’t know that Vanguard was going to send me a form for contributing to a Roth IRA or that having stocks vest really counts as buying and selling stocks, so the brokerage firm would send me a 1099.

After that experience last year, I was on the ball this year. I made a list of every institution that paid me interest throughout the year and made a task to check for a 1099-INT from each one on January 31st. I made a reminder to check for my W-2. I also made reminders for Vanguard and for the brokerage firm where I receive my stock vests. As each document came in, I checked it off. When they had all arrived, I scanned in the paper ones and emailed all of the documents to my CPA with several questions about my tax situation.

Regardless of whether I use my CPA again next year or I use TurboTax (or some other software), I will definitely be using the same checklist system and waiting until all documents come in before starting any preparation other than back-of-envelope calculations on my refund status.

Readers, do you use a CPA? Why or why not?

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11 thoughts on “Why I Re-Hired my CPA to do my taxes this year

  1. *Sigh* Tax time…. blah. This really messes with The Stoic’s tranquility.

    I’ve used a CPA for the last couple of years I’ve been overseas. This firm deals specifically with expat tax issues so I suppose it’s worth the money. Gives me peace of mind at least so I will continue to use them.

    OK Leigh, tax issues are not what we want to read about on Friday ;-)

    • Oops, my apologies ;) I originally had this post scheduled to run on a different day and I clearly wasn’t thinking when I swapped it!

      • I’m just joking with ya Leigh, a little Stoic humor, ha ha… A timely piece especially with the big day not far away. Have a great weekend!

  2. We are using a CPA this year. We started last year when I felt like things were getting a little to complicated and time consuming for me to do on my own (I’m in charge of taxes in our house). With a ESPP and a few other things, it’s worth it to have someone else look everything over before sending it in.

    However, our tax person does not provide any sort of investment advice or even many suggestions on how to lower our taxes and I wish she did!

    • Mine does provide some sort of tax planning investment advice, but charges me per hour for it… I’m already paying an arm and a leg to have my taxes prepared!

  3. The company I work for has a CPA in HR that does our taxes for people (like me) who work overseas for a large portion of the year.

  4. It takes just as much time to get everything ready for a CPA as to do the taxes ourselves… so we do the taxes ourselves. FIL is an accountant, so we can call him to ask questions. (Though he long ago retracted his offer to do our taxes once they got complicated.)

  5. I think taxes as an employee are really simple to figure out, so i don’t use a CPA. I actually did my sister’s taxes this year too because I like it and know what I’m doing.

    I would not hesitate to use a CPA if I had major complex tax issues, such as a corporation…or moving from one state to another.

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