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Outsourcing Tax Preparation: Admit Your Limitations

SVB had a post on Thursday about how she would be outsourcing tax preparation [3] this year, beginning with the motivations and then an essential questionnaire you need to go through to find the right professional to work with. I won’t go into how you select the right accountant or accounting firm, she does a great job, but I will go into why I considered and opted to outsource tax preparation.

Several years ago, a friend told me that she paid H&R Block $350 to prepare her taxes. I was shocked. I felt her tax situation was straightforward (she owned a home, had one income, nothing else noteworthy that I was aware of) but she was drawn into the idea that it was a professional doing her taxes and that she was safe against the horrors of an audit. To me, $350 is too much for tax preparation for her situation but she was buying “peace of mine,” and there are many cases where I’d overpay for peace of mind.

That being said, I’m still pretty stubborn, something my beautiful wife can attest to, and as a typical alpha male I feel like I need to be in control and do things myself. I’m also a personal finance blogger. I feel that I should be well versed in the arts of personal finance and that I should be doing my own taxes. Lastly, I’m frugal, why would I paid hundreds of dollars to do something I can do on TurboTax for a few bucks? I will be outsourcing tax preparation this year.

The motivations for outsourcing tax preparation were very much like my friend’s. The biggest concern is an audit. It’s my belief that audits are only absolutely horrible (they’re still horrible and a headache, it’s a matter of severity) for people who are disorganized or not 100% honest on tax returns. So, since I’m 100% honest, I’ve outsourced accounting services for the business in order to handle the disorganized part. I may be organized compared to normal people, but I’m not organized compared to accountants or IRS agent! Tax preparation is a component of the service the CPA provides and one I’m happy to take advantage of.

There comes a time when you have to recognize your limitations and let professionals do the job. For each person, that’s different for different jobs. I may be well-read about tax information but I’m certainly not qualified, or interested in, managing the day to day accounting affairs of any business, let alone mine. When it comes to replacing a roof, something that will happen this summer, I will gladly outsource that job unless we have roofers in the area who think we can do it ourselves (that’s the frugal in me coming out, not the stubborn!).