How to Hire a Tax Pro

Follow these steps to find the right person to prepare your return.

My sister recently sent me an e-mail asking whether she needed to hire someone to prepare her taxes because she had self-employment income in addition to her regular pay. "No," I told her. She would just need to fill out two additional forms that weren't difficult to tackle -- a Schedule C-EZ and a Schedule SE.

You, too, might be wondering if you should call in a tax pro if you picked up some freelance work last year, hired a full-time babysitter so you could return to work or did anything that requires you to file more forms in addition to your 1040. Many of you will probably find that tax software will suffice -- and be much cheaper than hiring an accountant. In fact, my husband and I use tax software and we have a pretty complicated return.

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Cameron Huddleston
Former Online Editor,

Award-winning journalist, speaker, family finance expert, and author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk.

Cameron Huddleston wrote the daily "Kip Tips" column for She joined Kiplinger in 2001 after graduating from American University with an MA in economic journalism.