If you’re not sure whether you have a simple tax return you can do yourself or you wonder about missing significant tax advantages or are concerned that you might be making mistakes, use the checklist below to help you decide whether you should hire a tax professional to help you prepare for your tax return.

You may want to consult with a tax professional if you:

  • Bought or sold a home. You’ll want to take all allowable deductions and make certain you qualify for the personal residence exclusion.
  • Got married, divorced or your spouse died. Only a competent tax professional can guide you through the complex tax rules that pertain to assets passing through estates.
  • Had a baby or adopted a child. A tax professional can explain array of investment options for saving for a child’s college education, as well as details about the child credit, child care credit and earned income credit.
  • Have a retirement plan, such as an IRA, 401(k), Keogh plan, a pension or an annuity.
  • Recently bought or started a business, own a business or work from home. A tax professional can advise you on whether you should operate as a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship.
  • Acquired rental property or have rental income. A tax professional understands the complex tax rules that apply.
  • Have needs for estate planning and need to understand all the ramifications of property taxes.

Like your doctor, your tax professional knows a lot about your personal situation, so continuity of service is also an important factor. That’s why, for many individuals, choosing a tax professional is the right choice.