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Thread: Should I get a CPA?

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Should I get a CPA?

    I almost always do my own taxes. As a sole proprietor, my taxes are actually pretty straightforward. No employees, not a lot of things to write off because I work as a subcontractor for other market research companies.

    The last time I had a CPA was after my MIL died and I was paying the mortgage on her house in New York. The reason I'm wondering if I need one now is for a similar reason: We closed on my BILs house in November 2017, and my MIL left both him and my husband the house when she died. I'm praying we don't have capital gains tax. From what I can see, we might not because of the minimal difference in "stepped-up" value and what we sold it for, but not sure how to report it.

    I'm thinking I'm better off getting a CPA. Anybody think I could get away without one?
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  2. #2
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    You could call the IRS and see if they will walk you through the forms over the phone.

  3. #3
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Or go to your library and sign up for one of their volunteer tax advisors (retired CPAs and tax preparers). If what they say sounds too hairy, seek out the professional.

  4. #4
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    I have a good tax preparer but she is not a CPA, but she does a wonderful job and you don't have to live in her state.
    Don't forget that your gains may not be that much because of all the money that went into the house, repairs etc. So be cognizant of how much you put into the house.

    IF the house was rented and you depreciated it, that's another issue.

  5. #5
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    If this year's sale/profits on the house is all you're concerned about, paying a CPA is overkill, IMHO. A tax preparer beyond one of the folks at H&R or Liberty should do fine (unless Jane is right about the deer-in-the-headlights look when you explain the situation). In truth, I think even one of the name-brand tax prep software packages would walk you through this well enough, and it would only cost $40-60 to find out (cheaper, I'm guessing, than even a non-CPA tax preparer).
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  6. #6
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Sometimes it is worth it to clear the air when a major or significant change has taken place to get a professional. I found that I was advised of some items that had an impact that I was not aware of as well. Get the current tax prep year out of the way and go back to your routine.

    Now I simply let them do it for me at such a modest cost because I do all the details that they need. The latest info is entered in the system and quickly updated and forwarded to the gov't. Often I get simple advice that would be to my advantage when I go to pick up the finished copy.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  7. #7
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    Speaking as a CPA, I would say it pays to hire one if you found yourself in a complex situation you weren't comfortable handling on your own. I don't think most people need that kind of help if they're in a relatively simple W-2 situation, especially now that so few will be filing Schedule A anymore. There have been times I've used a guy with a tax practice when there was a lot of money involved in a tricky tax situation. I thought the few hundred bucks it cost was well worth the peace of mind.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LDAHL View Post
    Speaking as a CPA, I would say it pays to hire one if you found yourself in a complex situation you weren't comfortable handling on your own. I don't think most people need that kind of help if they're in a relatively simple W-2 situation, especially now that so few will be filing Schedule A anymore. There have been times I've used a guy with a tax practice when there was a lot of money involved in a tricky tax situation. I thought the few hundred bucks it cost was well worth the peace of mind.
    +1
    that was why I got started using our tax preparer. I had been doing it myself with things like Turbo tax, which walk you through the situation. Yet she saved managed to sort out something for my dad and got him a significant amount of money back. I figure I have saved thousands by paying her a few hundred dollars a year. I would not go back to the old way.
    Let me know if you want her name.

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