Buffalo, NY (WBEN) With three weeks to go before your taxes are due, if you haven't done them yet, should you rely on a professional preparer, or do it yourself? The answer depends according to one tax expert.
"If you have a very straightforward return and you have the patience to deal with it, these programs can get you to a reasonably correct answer," says Dave Barrett of Freed Maxick. Barrett says if you've had a life milestone such as getting married or buying a house, then you may want to leave it to the experts. "If you've got lots of financial transactions or need help with other tax issues like estate planning, there you're going to want to see a professional," adds Barrett.
Barrett notes professionals like him deal with tax laws and changes every day, while the average person deals with them once or twice a year. The advantage of having a professional also comes into play in the event the IRS comes knocking with an audit. "If you've used a professional preparer, they'll be ready to stand by your side," says Barrett. "If you've done your own return and you've been selected for an audit, you'll have to convince someone to represent you or represent yourself, and that's a recipe for problems."