Whether you work at home as a full-time entrepreneur, or you have a daytime job and hustle for some side money, you owe it to yourself to consider hiring a tax professional.

Hiring a pro sounds like a bigger decision than it really is. If you are a simple W-2 wage earner, and especially if you don’t own your own home or have other tax-related concerns like stocks or real estate, you are not likely to benefit much from a professional tax preparer. If, on the other hand, you bought or sold stocks or mutual funds during the year, have and/or intend to contribute to an IRA, are a homeowner, or are a small business owner, you need to think seriously about hiring a professional.

Just in the arena of small business alone, there are dozens, if not hundreds of types of expenses you may be able to deduct, as well as pitfalls and traps you could be unaware of. It’s simplistic to think of a tax professional as purely about the tax prep and advice. A good tax professional often doubles as a skilled financial advisor, keeping you on the straight and narrow when it comes time to make a big decision in your business. Should I buy or should I lease? Can I write off this asset in the year of purchase or does it need to be depreciated over time? Is there a valid reason for establishing an independent contractor relationship with someone working for me, are do I have to go down the whole payroll tax/workman’s compensation/employee benefits route?

Just ONE OUT-OF-THE-WAY deduction¬†Tax Advisors can pay for the professional’s entire fee. Sometimes, many times over. Don’t forget amended returns from back tax years. A pro can often work magic in reclaiming funds paid in to the government that you never owed in the first place. It’s like “found” money.

The most overlooked benefit of a tax pro in your corner is OUTSIDE of tax time. While you don’t want to abuse your privileges, a call about pre-planning in the summer, or when a major business decision looms can be the difference between a great year and a good one. Put them to work! Most tax professionals appreciate clients who use them as a year-round resource. They get tired of playing golf during the summer! Or maybe not…

In summary, if you own a home, or a small business, and especially if you own both, consider very carefully your decision to engage or put off until next year the hiring of a professional accountant.