The Differences Between Filing Taxes Yourself or with a CPA

Share via
6 Tax Hacks for Small Business Owners

Are you self-employed or the owner of a SME (Small Medium Enterprise)? And, do the looming annual tax deadlines send your blood pressure sky high as you navigate your way through the legal deductibles as well as the declaration of all of your income.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the filing of US taxes more challenging because of the impact of the three Coronavirus stimulus bills signed into law in 2020. Therefore, at the outset of this article, it is worth noting that because of the tax implications of these stimulus bills like the tax relief measures stated in the CARES Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and the $2 trillion plus $3 trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Packages, it is a good idea to hire a CPA to file your taxes on your behalf.

What is a CPA?

Before we look at some of the differences between filing taxes yourself or employing a CPA such as the professionals employed by, let’s consider a definition of the function and role of a CPA. defines a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) as a “designation given by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to individuals that pass the Uniform CPA Examination and meet the education and experience requirements.”

Succinctly stated, the AICPA’s main function and purpose are to help enforce professional standards in the US accounting industry. And to qualify as a CPA, accountants must earn a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Finance, or Accounting degree, complete 150 hours of education, have 2 or more years of public accounting experience, and pass the CPA exam as administered by the AICPA.

Why you should not file your taxes yourself

This subheading could also read, “why you should hire a CPA to file your taxes on your behalf.” They are one and the same. The salient point of this article is that, rather than attempting to file your taxes yourself, especially with all the COVID-19 stimulus bills added to the mix, you should hire a qualified CPA to complete your tax return and file it on your behalf.

Additionally, it is essential to be cognizant of the fact that the tax filing due date has been extended until 15 July 2020.

Finally, the biggest difference between yourself and a CPA is that your CPA has the skill, knowledge, and experience to make sense of the tax relief measures stated in these acts, especially the CARES Act.

For example, the CARES Act makes provision for employers to be refunded up to 50% of their payroll tax credit paid up to $10 000 during the COVID-19 crisis. As with all measures, there is a list of terms and conditions that comes with this refund. Some of these conditions include the fact that your business needs to have been disrupted during the lockdown. And/ or, your gross income has declined by 50% between the applicable quarter of 2019 and 2020.

Share via
Samantha Acuna is a writer based in San Francisco, CA. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post,, and Yahoo Small Business.