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If you use or have checked out QuickBooks self-employed, you’ve probably seen the taxes tab. It shows your annual profit, the taxes you’re projected to owe, your quarterly estimated tax payments, and even a Schedule C. Is that everything you need?

QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Estimates Are Based on What You Put In

The QuickBooks Self-Employed tax estimates may or may not be accurate because they depend entirely on the numbers you put in. This is more than just entering the right numbers (which are probably right if you use automatic imports). You need to make sure everything is in the right category as well.

Some expenses are fully deductible, such as rent for a separate office, while others may not be, such as a cellphone line you use for both business and personal purposes. If you enter vehicle expenses, you need to make sure they’re not covered by the standard mileage deduction if you’re claiming that. Meals are another example where the rules are complicated on when they’re deductible and those that are are only 50% deductible.

In short, you need to know what you’re doing. If you know how to complete your own tax return, you can use QuickBooks Self-Employed as a tool to complete your return throughout the year. If you don’t know how to do your own taxes, you may not have everything categorized properly, which means you can’t just plug the QuickBooks reports into your tax preparation software.

I’ve also found that when you’re using the estimated taxes payment features, it over estimates your tax liability. The reason is it doesn’t account for your tax deductions and credits. Some of these it can’t know like your child tax credits or whether you get a health insurance credit or deduction. It also doesn’t account for the qualified business income deduction or the deduction for one half of your self-employment taxes.

Do You Need an Accountant to Do Your Taxes When You Use QuickBooks Self-Employed?

The answer to this question depends on a few things.

  • Do you just not want to deal with it?
  • Do you want to take the time it will take to learn how to do it?
  • Will you be disciplined about keeping things up-to-date during the year?
  • How confident are you in your understanding of tax law and your ability to complete your tax return accurately?

Depending on your level of comfort and how you feel about doing things yourself, your accountant can help you with:

  • An initial consultation to explain how things work and to set up QuickBooks.
  • Ongoing help either doing everything for you, checking things every month or quarter, or being available for questions.
  • Getting your QuickBooks file tax ready and using it to file your return.

If you think you might need help, it’s better to plan ahead and get things right the first time by meeting with an accountant early in the year than to pay busy season rush rates to have an accountant try to fix things on April 15th.

Can You Do Your Own Taxes Then Have an Accountant Check Your Work?

If you want to file your own taxes and have an accountant review your tax return, it’s probably not going to happen. This isn’t because they want to do it themselves or discourage people from preparing their own returns but because IRS regulations make it virtually impossible.

For an Accountant to Review Your Tax Return, They Have to Sign it as a Preparer

Under 26 CFR ยง 301.7701-15(c), giving you enough information or advice to make completing your return a mechanical or clerical matter is tax preparation. This means the accountant has to take responsibility for it just as if they had prepared it themselves.

The only way for your accountant to verify that you completed your return correctly is to redo all of the work on their own.

In addition, a professional tax preparer must sign your return to comply with IRS regulations. That’s something they can’t do if you print a draft off of your TurboTax account and file on your own.

What if You Only Have a Few Questions?

If you only have a few questions, that’s a different story. Someone who helps you with a small portion of your tax return is not a tax preparer and won’t have the problems discussed above.

For example, you might want to ask if you’re properly claiming the home office deduction. This is something many Enrolled Agents and CPAs are able and willing to help you with.

The key is that the advice can’t make up a substantial portion of your return.

What if You Need a Lot of Help But Want to File on Your Own?

If you’re starting a new business or have had other major tax changes, you may want to have a professional prepare your return in the first year. Many will even walk you through everything with the understanding that you’ll file on your own next year. Of course, this might involve a higher fee than regular tax preparation, and you’ll be solely responsible for adjusting for any changes in tax law or your circumstances, but it is an option that’s there.

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