Tax Preparation Methods ‘«Ű Which is Right for You?

H&R Block advises on DIY, using a pro for tax prep

By Jose Pe??ate, Tax Expert at H&R Block
Published on LatinoLA: February 1, 2013

Tax Preparation Methods ‘«Ű Which is Right for You?

Deciding which tax preparation method to use depends largely on taxpayers' comfort with their tax situations. However, the more complex the situations are, the more likely the assistance of a tax professional should be sought.

Consider the following when debating taking the do-it-yourself approach or consulting a tax professional.

Going it alone with the right tools isn't so lonely

H&R Block do-it-yourself tax preparation methods have the decades of the company's expertise built in; an interview sequence asks DIY filers questions about changes in their lives in the past year that could impact their tax outlook, further ensuring users claim all the tax credits and deductions they are entitled.

H&R Block At Home offers DIY taxpayers multiple online and software products based on tax complexity, including H&R Block At Home Premium & Business for business owners seeking a solution that allows individual and business tax returns to be prepared with the same product.

Picking the right pro can be a tax-saver

New credits, tax law changes, marriage, divorce, birth, adoption, job loss, foreclosure and business decisions can mean more complicated tax returns and the need to consult a qualified tax professional. Following are some tips on making a good choice for assistance with tax preparation:

‘«ů Use only trusted tax preparers committed to helping taxpayers claim the maximum amount entitled by law

- Unsubstantiated claims may save taxpayers money up-front but likely will cost them in the long run

‘«ů Seek reputable tax professionals who guarantee their work and understand what happens if an error is made on the return

- H&R Block guarantees accurate calculations
- If IRS penalties and interest charges result from an H&R Block error, the company will pay these expenses

‘«ů Select a preparer available year-round
- Taxes typically are prepared January through the April filing deadline, yet the IRS corresponds with taxpayers all year about audits and other concerns.

In 2010, the IRS announced reforms requiring all paid tax return preparers to register with the IRS and get a preparer tax identification number (PTIN). Most paid preparers will be required to complete the one-time RTRP competency test by Dec. 31, 2013 to become registered tax return preparers. In addition to passing the test, 15 hours of continuing education must be completed annually.

Even prior to the new IRS regulations, H&R Block tax professionals completed 24 hours of continuing education annually. The average H&R Block client is served by a tax professional with more than eight years experience and 450 hours of training.

Block Live launched this year, which allows clients to have their tax returns prepared by an H&R Block tax professional in real time via integrated online video conference or chat. Block Live provides the convenience of tax preparation virtually anytime or anywhere with the expertise of highly skilled tax professionals. This service is ideal for taxpayers who have busy schedules that make it difficult to make time for a trip to the office, and for those who need to file their taxes from a remote location.

Regardless of who prepares tax returns, taxpayers are legally responsible for the contents. A little research about tax professionals now can prevent significant financial and legal challenges later.

For more information, contact an H&R Block tax professional. To find the nearest H&R Block office, visit or call 800-HRBLOCK.

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