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The Best Tax Services2023Expertise Laurels
2023Expertise Laurels

The Best Tax Services

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Introduction

    In the early spring of every year, nearly everyone has a decision to make — should you try to file your taxes on your own or hire a tax professional? There are pros and cons to each option. For example, hiring someone to do your taxes isn't free, but it will ensure that you can take advantage of everything at your disposal when filing your tax returns.


    Ultimately, the decision about whether to hire a tax professional will come down to factors such as the complexity of your tax situation and whether you'll be able to file them on your own.

  • When can I file my taxes?

    You can file your tax returns between getting access to your annual income information and Tax Day. In most years, federal Tax Day occurs on April 15, but in 2020 and 2021, tax deadlines were delayed because of COVID-19, extending the filing period. 

  • How much do you have to make to file taxes?

    State and local minimums to file taxes vary concerning where you live. The federal minimums fluctuate depending on your age, filing status, and tax year. For example, if you filed in 2020 as single and under 65 years of age, your income needed to be at least $12,200.

  • Do I have to file taxes?

    If your income over a calendar year exceeds the threshold for your age group and filing status, you must file a federal tax return for that year. State and local rules vary. For example, there are some areas that don't have income tax at all and have different rules for filing taxes.

  • What happens if you don\'t file taxes?

    If you don't file and pay your taxes by the deadline, unpaid taxes will incur interest up to 25% of the unpaid amount. This, in addition to the unpaid amount, will be what you owe the IRS. Different states treat unpaid taxes differently and penalties range from fines to jail time.

  • How do I file taxes?

    Filing taxes involves getting your annual income documents and statements and filling out a tax return, which will tell you the amount you owe for the year. You can choose to fill out your returns yourself and mail them or file online. Or, you can hire a professional to fill out and file the returns for you.

  • How do I file taxes for free?

    There are several services that offer free filing of federal tax returns. The most notable are online services, including IRS.gov and TurboTax. You can also look around for community organizations that offer tax filing for free as a service for community members, including the local library.

  • Should you pay someone to do your taxes?

    If you're concerned about getting everything right and paying the right amount, you may want to hire someone to fill out and file your tax returns for you. You don’t need a tax accountant, but many people prefer not to have to worry about their taxes every year.

  • What is a tax accountant?

    A tax accountant is a professional who receives training in federal, state, and local tax laws, codes, and proceedings. They are qualified to assist individuals in filing their taxes and are usually in a private practice or employed by a professional tax service.

  • What do tax accountants do?

    Tax accounts ensure their clients' tax returns are filled out and filed correctly. They also advise clients on the correct documents to bring to their appointment and make sure they're aware of every credit or deduction available to them based on their specific circumstances.

  • How much does it cost to have someone do your taxes?

    According to Investopedia, the average cost of hiring a tax professional is usually between $146 and $457. If you have complex taxes or your income is higher than average, a tax accountant may charge higher fees because of the extra time and risk involved.

  • How do I check if taxes were filed?

    To see if your federal taxes were filed correctly, you can contact the IRS by phone or by going online — IRS.gov — and viewing your account. If you filed with an online service, check for a confirmation that your returns were accepted. For state and local taxes, contact tax departments where you live.

  • Can a dependent file taxes?

    Technically, a dependent can file. They're only required to file taxes when their annual income is over the tax year's minimum threshold. With this in mind, if someone who is a dependent on another person's return expects to be eligible for a refund, they can, and should, file taxes for the year.

  • Can a 17 year old file taxes?

    A minor can file taxes but isn't required to, outside of a few situations. The most common instance is when their income exceeds the standard deduction for the year. In most cases, the parent is allowed to include this return and income with theirs for the year.

  • Can you file taxes with no income?

    It's legal to file your taxes, even if you didn't earn an income during the tax year. Many people choose to do this because even if you didn't pay any taxes for the year, you can still take advantage of eligible credits, carry over state deductions, and protect against future audits.

  • How do I file a tax extension?

    To file an extension with the IRS, you'll need to fill out Form 4868 and pay any taxes you owe so that you don't have to pay a penalty for unpaid taxes. The extension itself is not penalized — it gives you an extra six months to file your tax paperwork.

  • How do I file back taxes?

    To file your returns for unpaid taxes that you owe, you'll need to gather the forms you would've filed with the old returns and file them. You can still take advantage of any credits and deductions that were active over the years you didn't file if you can show the necessary documents.

  • Can married couples file taxes separately?

    Married couples can choose to file taxes together or separately, but they’re encouraged to file together. The IRS extends several benefits for married couples who file jointly, so this is the most common option of the two.

  • How do I become a tax accountant?

    To become a tax accountant, you need to receive a traditional bachelor's degree in accounting and training — either as part of your education or separately — in your local, state, and federal tax codes. Many tax professionals receive post-graduate certifications, such as the CPA, although this isn't required.

  • How much do tax accountants make?

    The annual earnings of tax accounts and preparers varies widely based on their level of experience and employer. According to Forbes, the average earnings for an accountant can reach $95,000 in some states, while tax preparers usually earn less.

  • Do tax accountants need to be CPAs?

    Tax accountants are not required to be CPAs but many are. This is because accountants who are also CPAs are often looked at as being more credible and qualified if they're in private practice. It also qualifies them for more responsibilities as they move up in their careers.

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