Why not just buy the tax software and do it myself?
That is an option, but there are a lot of deductions available. How do you know you are not paying more than you have to? How do you know if you are on track for the current year? Don't just hope you don't owe huge next April. The software only knows what you tell it.
My friend knows a guy that can always find a refund, why not use them?
Great, just make sure he is doing things properly and legally. The taxpayer is liable for any problems. A refund now won't mean a lot if the IRS comes knocking in a couple years asking for payment and penalty and interest. Also, if you are withholding too much throughout the year, that's like an interest free loan to the government. Your goal should be to withhold as close to what you owe as is possible.
I always thought I needed a CPA to do my taxes. What certification is required?
There are different levels. Yes, a CPA can do your taxes, but they don't NEED to. Unless you have a very complex situation, you probably don't need a CPA, so why pay more for one? Here in California, tax preparers must be registered with the CTEC which requires 60 hours of education and an additional 20 hours of continuing education each year. In all most all other states, there is no education requirement.
Do I really need to keep a pile of receipts around or can I just bring you my bank statements?
Yes, you need to keep receipts. I can work from summaries you make from receipts, but if audited you may need to prove your deductions to the IRS with receipts.
Won't I get in trouble if I withhold too little? How often can I change my withholdings?
Yes, if you withhold too little, you may be subject to underpayment penalties from both the IRS and your state. You can (and should) change your withholdings whenever your situation changes. You can also ask for more to be withheld from your paychecks. I can assist in calculating how much should be withheld and make sure you are on track. This should be done before the end of each year.
Can I deduct a trip of it was to look for a new job in my current field? What about moving expenses if I get the job?
In certain cases, yes, job hunting trips and moving expenses may be deductible.
Our uniform allowance is never enough. Can I deduct what I spend on my own?
Yes, in certain cases.
My Department issues a helmet, but I bought my own. Can I deduct that?
Yes, in certain cases.
I'm the junior man so I always get sent to different stations in the morning. Can I deduct mileage?
Yes, in certain cases. (Are you seeing a pattern here? There are no simple answers, each situation is unique, hence why you need KMS Tax Prep!) If you arrive at station one and send you to station 2, those miles may be deductible. You need to keep really good mileage records and be eligible to itemize deductions. We can help you there.