How Long Does It Take an Accountant to Do Taxes?

An accountant reviews tax forms.

As tax season looms, you may be wondering whether you should have an accountant prepare your taxes. In addition to considering how much an accountant costs, you’ll also want to consider how long an accountant will take to do taxes compared to trying to do it yourself.

How do you know when to bring in a tax professional? Complicated tax situations like inheritance, small business taxes, or other big life changes usually warrant bringing in a certified public accountant or CPA. 

How Much Time Does it Take an Accountant to Prepare Taxes?

The time it takes an accountant to do taxes depends on the complexity of your return and how quickly you make your tax information and necessary documents available to them. 

It is better to plan ahead before the tax filing deadline. You can ask an accountant to have a better understanding of the timeline required to complete the process. There are a few ways that you can speed up the process.

Cost and Time Considerations

A number of factors affect the time it takes to file taxes. Not all of these will be the responsibility of the tax preparer. 

First, you must make sure that you have all of the required documentation available for the tax preparer. Documentation includes any statements of income you have received from an employer or other entity, as well as any other tax forms for expenses. 

Some of the most common forms include: 

  • W-2
  • 1099-NEC
  • 1098 

The W-2 is used to report income earned from an employer, as well as the payment of any taxes. A 1099-NEC includes independent contractor earnings. The 1098 form is a statement of any mortgage interest or insurance premiums paid. 

Deductions are another consideration. If you prefer to itemize rather than take the standard deduction, you’ll need to have receipts available. 

Typical items that are itemized include:

  • Medical and dental expenses
  • Mortgage interest
  • State or local property tax

All of your receipts should be organized and provided to your tax preparer.

Tax Preparation for Small Business Owners

Business owners will have more complex taxes. Businesses are able to claim certain deductions for expenses incurred throughout the year, but they need to have appropriate evidence of these expenses. 

Gathering this documentation may take some time, especially if you haven’t kept track of your receipts during the year. Online accounting software can assist in managing small business income and expenses.

The cost of the tax preparation and filing varies. More complex returns will incur higher fees. Often you may offset the cost of these services with your tax refund if you are eligible for one.

If you choose to use a local accounting firm that specializes in tax return preparation, you will pay significantly more. However, if your tax situation is complex, it pays to engage the services of true tax professionals. 

Xendoo has a variety of plans that are priced to meet tax needs for businesses of all sizes. The accounting team will be familiar with tax law and tax code and can make sure to include all deductions available to you. Xendoo’s team can also assist you with tax planning to mitigate your tax expense in future years.

How Much Time Do You Spend Preparing Your Return?

If you have filed your own tax return in prior years, you may have spent a significant amount of time to ensure you filled it out properly. When you did, you likely had to gather all of your tax forms and expense records. Then, check that you included each applicable tax form, including form 1040

You may have struggled with situations that required more complexity, such as capital gains or business deductions. Perhaps you had significant medical expenses that required you to itemize rather than take the standard deduction. 

Whatever the reason, you likely spent significant time and effort preparing your own tax return. At the end of the process, you may not have even been entirely comfortable that your return was correct. This oversight is why it makes sense to hire someone to handle tax preparation for you.

Plus, if you have errors in your tax preparation, it can slow the process down. Tax professionals can prevent common errors so that your taxes are filed faster. 

Is It Worth Getting an Accountant to Do Your Taxes?

There are three main types of qualified tax preparers. These include enrolled agents (EAs), certified public accountants (CPAs), and tax lawyers. Other individuals may prepare taxes through retail firms, but often they will not have received education specific to tax. 

Thus, if your tax situation is complex, it makes sense to hire someone to prepare your taxes who has the education and experience that fits your particular situation.

While there is an expense associated with hiring a qualified tax preparer, doing so saves you time, energy, and potentially even money. Tax preparers are generally familiar with most of the IRS tax code and must stay up to date on any changes that are made. They will be aware of deductions that you may not know you qualify for. 

If you own a business, it is likely that you will need the services of a tax preparer. Business taxes are typically much more intricate than personal tax returns. 

They involve a number of different considerations, especially if your company has employees, equipment, or investments. Tax consulting services can assist you with ensuring your business tax return is properly completed.

Tax Accounting Software

Some people decide that engaging the services of a professional isn’t necessary, especially if they have simple returns and have some knowledge of tax. They may choose to utilize tax software to prepare their returns. 

To prepare yourself for tax time, there are a few online accounting software options that may help.

When you get a Xendoo plan, you can also sync to online accounting software and tools through our partners. These include:

  • Xero 
  • Quickbooks

Although these tools can make the tax filing process easier, there is still some heavy lifting that you need to do. Xendoo comes with accountants that can advise you when filing tax returns.

There are a number of factors that impact how long it takes to complete income taxes. To speed up the process, store all of your tax-related documents throughout the year and keep them organized.

For small business owners and more complex tax needs, using a tax preparer like Xendoo can save time and money. If your return is complicated, consider small business tax preparation services.

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