TurboTax vs Hiring a CPA: Which Should You Choose?

March 27, 2023

When do you know it’s time to hire a CPA to do your taxes? In this highlight, Brian and Bo give some insight on how to know if you should hire a professional to do your taxes or file them yourself.

Ever wonder what the highly trained professionals use to tax plan? Wonder no more! We’ve assembled the ultimate tax guide you can download and reference as you prepare your taxes this year. You can find it here.


We have a question from Jimmer. He says, what’s your thoughts on TurboTax versus a tax guy? Our return is not too complicated at this point, but he’s wondering, you know, how do you tell when you’re ready for one over the other?

Know thyself. Let me tell you the experience here. We have a brilliant client. I bet she watches this still. Oh yeah, she’s telling her for sure. Goes to one of those fancy schools. And she’s a client and we were telling her, hey, your life’s getting complicated. You ought to hire a tax preparer. Just save yourself the effort. And then she hires a tax preparer. And then she comes back to us. I just don’t know. You guys tell me that this is supposed to make my life easier, but their results didn’t match my results. And then she whips out, I think a TurboTax file right next to the table. And I was like, wait a minute. You’re doing a tax hard. You heard an accountant. But then you also did TurboTax. She’s like, oh yeah, I need to know if I get my money. I need to see if I’m getting my money’s worth out of it. I was like, well, this blows up the entire value proposition of hiring a professional because you’re actually, you’re paying for something you were doing yourself.

So that’s why I say know yourself, Jim, or in the fact that if you’re a person that can’t walk away from the process and your set up is so simple, I don’t have a problem with using TurboTax. The problem I have is when you get more complicated, you add in rental property, you add in portfolio assets that have K1s and all these other things that start. You’re like, what the heck do I do with this? And I want to file extensions and other things. It might make sense to have somebody on your team that can kind of co-pilot, help you organize it, maximize, help you with blind spots that you don’t know. It’s one of the things I did taxes for 16 years. I thought I would be saddened in that first tax season that was no longer doing my taxes. But guys, I sold my tax practice. Was that 2012? 2013? I haven’t missed it. I haven’t missed it at all. So I think it, but it doesn’t mean I’m not involved. My CPA very well knows that I imagine just like I have financial planning clients, that every time I get on the phone with them, I’m like, man, they’re so daggum smart. I better make sure I’ve done my homework. I got to believe that Lorraine thinks that about us too, is because she knows that I’m still an active involved person, but she is the professional that’s preparing my tax term. She’s the one that’s signing it. Know thyself.

Figure out if you’re actually going to get value and use it or if you’re the type person actually really gets a kick out of doing your own taxes because we’ve seen all types. I don’t think it’s even, even it’s complicated. Do you ever try to do a backdoor Roth conversion on turbo tax? Trying to get the 86 or 6 is the turnout right? It’s just like every year we got to walk just tons of clients through that. This is what I would tell you. If you are going to be a self-prepared and you’re going to use turbo tax, you’re going to use one of these systems or softwares. Let technology be your friend. It’s one thing like, I don’t want to go pay a prepare. I don’t want to spend the money. I don’t want to go to, I get that. That’s fine. But look, it’s so easy now where you can like upload your 1099s, you can upload your tax forms and it will automatically populate. Allow technology to do that for you. Allow it to do that. I have a mate. I have a dear, dear friend of mine. This guy pays off. He has to pay estimated tax payments. This sucker was writing a check every quarter and he was pretty out of voucher. He had the check and he would run. He put the voucher together and he’d go look the envelope and he would stick in the man. I’m like, guy, what are you doing? The IRS direct pace system is so great. You can do automatically. And just if you’re going to be someone who just, you can’t walk away from you. Love your own taxes. Let technology be your friend.

If you’re someone who’s like printing the forms and like hand filling them out and mailing them in, there might be some better solutions for you out there. Don’t fight the momentum of where it’s going. Even if you’re going to be a prepare because there are tools out there that can make it much, much easier. I don’t know if my red has come out of my face, yeah. But I am the, I’m the friend he’s talking about. I wasn’t going to have no idea. No, no. You really hosted your song there. I, I enjoyed the process of writing the check, scanning the check with the pay stub in, getting the float of it because you take a few days for the government to cash check. But, but, but, but, but, but has a solid point. The fact that the government misplaced one of my estimate tax payments. They allocated it to the wrong period. And I realized that sometimes with the, the R.S., they, they, like the payment coupon, the checks. I think there’s some separation process when the things come in that there’s a lot of areas between the humans that are involved for it to get screwed up for is when you go use their electronic pay system, you’re actually telling on the website, which, you know, what year tax year you want to apply to, they yank the money the same day. And it’s not, it’s not become a joke that nobody, it’s the opposite of the flow. They can give people who write paper checks floats because they yanking the money so fast that it almost feels like it came out yesterday. Um, because as soon as you go on that electronic payment site, they yank the money out. It’s almost like a wire transfer. It’s so fast. And I was reformed and what’s funny is I know some other employees here who have to make estimate tax payments and, and they have also been converted because of my cautionary tale.



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