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It is tax season, money is tight, and you are not looking to find out whether or not your income is recession proof or not. So what is the best way to get your taxes done without breaking the bank? Is it more financially beneficial to use a tax preparation service or should you use a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)?

Although we probably don’t spend much time looking to define our financial status, research shows that what is considered to be middle class America and people who are considered to be on the poverty line, tend to use tax services when filing their taxes each year rather than a CPA. I wonder how many people stop to compare what the fee for one is verses the other. At the end of the day, it seems that without researching cost and benefit, people default to tax preparation services over using a CPA. As a small business owner I’d like to shed some light on why you should use a CPA instead.

For starters, the right tax preparer can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your taxes. There is also a much more personalized approach when using a CPA. Your accountant has more interest in you than your service fee because his/her clientele is based on a financial relationship with you rather than what your number may be on the waiting room line. CPA’s take their time to get to know you and your needs. That means they have reason to want to build a rapport with you. How they take care of your finances builds a trust between you and them which in turn, keeps you coming back year after year. Don’t assume that because you have a simple return, you don’t need a CPA. You may find that with a tax preparation service, you’re actually paying double the fee that a CPA would charge you.

Remember that a tax preparer does not an Accountant make. The people who work for tax preparation services are trained to properly enter data onto digital forms. Something you could probably do yourself using an e-file service. However, a CPA is a qualified Accountant who specializes in financial strategy. They would be able to intelligently provide strategic tax advice and prepare your taxes in a way that allows you to get the most for your money in the long run. In the end, you would hate to know that you paid double the service fee and lost out on thousands of missed deductions on your return simply because you didn’t look into the benefits of using a CPA instead.