Do You Need a CPA?

When You Should Call in the Experts and What You Need to Know When You Do

It’s becoming more common for taxpayers to file their own taxes, but are you sure you’re minimizing what you owe and maximizing what you keep in your pocket? Most of the time, filing your taxes isn’t a complicated process, but there are times when you may want to call in the cavalry to ensure that you meet all of your federal, state and local tax obligations without giving away too much. The Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA) are real experts showing real results on personal and business tax returns, as well as your overall financial health.  No matter what your status, a CPA can help. 

Why Do I Need a CPA? Certified public accountants, CPAs, are the professionals individuals and businesses turn to, not only for tax advice, but also for personal financial planning services, investment advice, estate planning and more. There are important differences between a CPA and someone who just offers basic bookkeeping or tax return services. You may see advertisements for people offering tax preparation services. These individuals typically are not CPAs. Their goal is to drop numbers into your tax return and get it filed, as opposed to assessing your overall financial situation and helping you put together tax strategies that will benefit you in the short and long term. A CPA is there for you year ‘round, not just during tax season. 

When Do I Need a CPA? When you need financial advice or your tax situation is slightly trickier than simply filling out the standard IRS Form 1040, a CPA can help. Consider working with a CPA if you:

  1. Own a business.Being self-employed brings a new world of deductions, credits, and retirement account planning that you may have never encountered before. In addition to helping you find all the available deductions and paying the IRS as little as possible, a CPA can help you structure your business, put together a plan for the future and help you address any problems as you encounter them.
  2. Face a major life change.Marriage, divorce, job change, new baby, an inheritance, or retirement, could all impact your financial situation.
  3. Real estate or taxable investments.If you own rental property, a CPA should be on your list of best friends. Owning a rental opens up a lot of special tax situations that you’ll want to take advantage of and make sure you aren’t making any mistakes. The same thing can go for buying and selling a home or other real estate. And don’t forget about tracking gains and losses on taxable investments.
Lauren A. Carnes, CPA, MST

About Lauren A. Carnes, CPA, MST

Lauren joined the firm in 1988 and became a principal in 1997. Lauren has extensive experience with corporate and individual tax planning, financial planning and in representation with government agencies. She currently directs our tax department overseeing services in most areas including corporate and individual taxation.



Lauren A. Carnes, CPA, MST
Author: Lauren A. Carnes, CPA, MST
Lauren joined the firm in 1988 and became a principal in 1997. Lauren has extensive experience with corporate and individual tax planning, financial planning and in representation with government agencies. She currently directs our tax department overseeing services in most areas including corporate and individual taxation.