When to Hire An Accountant

Tax season is approaching, the W2’s are starting to arrive and 1099’s should be sent. Now is a good time to decide whether you should do your own taxes with software such as Turbo Tax or hire an Accountant.


TurboTax and others like it are great programs for people with relatively simple taxes.

I’ve used an Accountant for many years. I consider my Accountant an integral part of my team. If I have questions, or issues related to my personal taxes, rental home or business, they are a phone call away for expert advice. Could I research these issues myself? Yes. The question is, what is the value my time. Will I get the over all value out of the research, given that an Accountant has already done it and understands the nuances? And my Accountant can explain my tax quandaries to me in a fraction of the time. Having an accountant helps me sleep at night as well, because I am confident that I am being advised to do all that can be done to save money on taxes, and that I am less likely to get audited by the IRS.

But, not everybody is “me” … This is my decision criteria for determining if you would benefit from an accountant:


If you don’t enjoy something and you can hire someone to do it better than you can and it doesn’t cost too much, then doing so is a no-brainer.

Here are eleven things to consider when deciding whether to hire an accountant to do your taxes:

  1. Do you (and your partner) work for a company, and get W2’s?

  2. Do you own a house?

  3. Do you have a brokerage account that is heavily used?

  4. Do you own a business?

  5. Do you own alternative investments?

  6. Have you recently had any interesting life events (a new baby, sold/bought a house, moved to a new state, inherited money)?

  7. Are you near retirement age?

  8. Is your income near a major IRS income limit? (If you are married, did you earn close to $77,000, $165,000 or $315,000?)

  9. Do you own rental property?

  10. Have had trouble with the IRS in the past?

  11. Do you HATE doing your taxes?

If you answer “yes” to 2 or more of the above questions, you would benefit from a solid relationship with a local and friendly Accountant. Do you really want to spend your March weekends holed up in front of your computer, researching the never-ending set of changes to tax law?

Once you have determined that you would benefit from a Accountant, know that one will cost you more than Turbo Tax or another DIY tax software. But the benefits of outsourcing to an expert can out outweigh the costs. When was the last time you changed the brakes on your own car?

If you decide to look for Accounts, I am happy to provide some recommendations if you live in the Atlanta Area. Just email josh@chamberlainfa.com.