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What you get with a CPA

Many taxpayers are fully capable of preparing their own tax returns - whether it's with a little help from a box or not. Others have more complicated returns that may require expert help.

Regardless, if you're ever looking for assistance in preparing you return (or have any other financial/tax question for yourself or your business), there are a few things you should consider when it comes to the question of accountant v. CPA.

· EDUCATION: Any CPA has a boatload of education. Not only do they have at least one degree, they've passed the CPA Exam. Trust us, it's not easy. Additionally, a CPA continues their education throughout the life of their practice. It's required and insures they stay current with ever-changing tax laws, regulations, and rulings.

· CREDIBILITY: You're credible by association. The CPA's certification, education, experience, and professional reputation can rub off on your businesses' finances. Tax returns and financial statements prepared by a certified public accountant are more credible to bankers, investors, insurers, and others.

· PAYROLL: The taxes associated with payroll are often confusing to business owners. Certified Public Accountants can help you not only make sure they're correct if you handle them yourself, but often offer payroll services.

· RETURN PREPARATION: A CPA knows not only filing deadlines, but what forms you need to file to make sure you're compliant. Questions about what expenses you can write-off and what income is taxable? A CPA knows all that, too.

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