Dear Tax Talk,
I do my own taxes and have the sense I am missing out on some tax breaks and paying too much. Is it possible to have a tax professional review my tax returns from the past three years and check for opportunities or confirm what I did was correct? Does it make sense to hire a tax pro to find missed tax breaks?
— Dave

Dear Dave,
Yes, I think it would be a great idea for you to meet with a tax professional to go over the past three years of your tax returns, especially if you feel that you may not be taking advantage of tax deductions or tax credits that will help you lower the amount of taxes you pay to Uncle Sam.

Generally, you have three years to file Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. So, you have plenty of time to make any necessary corrections.

Many taxpayers are able to prepare their own returns using various tax software programs that are available. However, income tax returns are becoming increasingly complex, no matter what the income level. Additionally, many changes are made each year to the Internal Revenue Code and sometimes it is difficult to navigate through the preparation of a tax return even if you are using the best tax software program available.

As far as selecting a tax professional, there are several ways to go about it.

Tips for hiring a tax pro

  • Get recommendations from friends and family.
  • Check with your local chamber of commerce.
  • Review tax professional groups backed by the IRS.
  • Search websites of tax associations such as NAEA, AICPA and NATP.

If you hire a tax pro to find missed tax breaks and no breaks are found, at a minimum you will be reassured that you are doing everything correctly and there is a lot to say for that peace of mind.

On the other hand, if amended returns are required, then the IRS will be happy to refund you any tax overpayments.

Thanks for the great question and all the best to you.

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