Those of you who recently completed the painstaking process of filing your income taxes might want to rethink that strategy next year and instead hire a CPA. According to an article by MSNBC, the average person spends more than $200 and 26.5 hours of their time because of tasks ranging from record keeping and studying the tax law to preparing and sending their tax forms. Obviously those numbers are just averages, and are likely influenced by extremes on both ends of the spectrum, but I think they make an interesting point.
Investors in particular are probably better off hiring a CPA than doing their own taxes because their tax returns can get complicated. Keeping up with the latest deductions and changes to tax law is probably better left to professionals anyway. Turbo Tax is great, but I would rather trust my taxes, finances and sanity to a CPA. For me, doing taxes is about up there with going to the dentist, and not having to deal with it is alone worth the $800 bucks a year I pay my CPA. Even if I liked doing my taxes (a twisted concept), it would probably take me the 26.5 hours, at least, to do them considering all the crazy things I’ve got going on. I can assure you that my CPA charges more than the $30 an hour equivalent here, but what takes me 26 hours to accomplish he can finish in just a few.
Instead of sitting at my desk, pulling my hair out and complaining to my wife that I can’t concentrate because the baby is crying, I can go to the park or on some other outing with my family which is worth way more than $30 an hour. Life is too short to spend it doing taxes, so next year spend a few bucks, hire a CPA and then go enjoy your life. If you aren’t a family person, then just think of it as an investment: If you can make more than $30 an hour (or whatever the equivalent hourly rate for a CPA would be in your case) doing something else, then do that instead of your taxes. You will make more money, and assuming that you enjoyed working on the other activity more than you did your taxes (shouldn’t be too hard), you also are adding to your overall happiness.