Arlington, Texas – September 14, 2017 – UFSTSG is kicking off an “Own Your Own Business” giveaway contest targeted exclusively to Houston, Galveston, and Golden Triangle entrepreneurs in an effort to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

The winner will be awarded a free financial services business opportunity, a value of up to $200,000. Additionally, UFSTSG will make a donation to the J.J. Watt Houston Flood Relief Fund; for each winning recipient via its foundation Umbrella Kids, which offers grants that help provide youth a foundation for success by funding programs focused on education, fitness, safety and hunger relief.

This multi-phase competition includes meeting the company’s business opportunity qualifications, preliminary interviews, video contest, webinar and a one-on-one interview with UFSTSG senior leadership for the top finalists.

Umbrella Financial Services Tax Solutions Group (UFSTSG) offers a unique business model that gives people from all walks of life a chance to change careers and own their own financial services business. With their industry disrupting VTax business model, you can now own and operate a mobile financial services business without learning or preparing taxes or having any financial services experience.  By leveraging the branding efforts of the company through the use of VTax’s name, logo and image to help build your business, you simply market and source the clients and VTax back office team of IRS tax law certified tax professionals, enrolled agents and CPA’s handle the rest. In addition to tax preparation, book keeping, and accounting services, the company also provides insurance, investments, medical, dental plans and other products and services to customers.

“There are many reasons people choose to become a UFSTSG licensee. We believe we offer one of the best entrepreneurial opportunities in North America. Our VTax Business Model ‘No Financial Services Experience is Necessary’ allows us to offer everyday people an uncommon opportunity to change careers and build businesses for themselves but not by themselves. Our owners come from a variety of industries, careers, and backgrounds. The combination of excellent support and training programs, paired with your determination to build a strong business of your own, is why our owners succeed.  More and more people are choosing to become independent business owners, and UFSTSG offers a proven system and one of the best entrepreneurial opportunities around. We want to do our part and help as many Houston and Galveston area entrepreneurs be a part of that success.”, says the president and chief executive officer, Kevin Murphy.

The top candidates will be invited to submit a video on why they deserve a VTax business opportunity. After being invited to the company’s webinar and speaking with UFSTSG sales representatives, the top contestants will be selected from this pool for the semifinal competition, in which the public will vote for their favorite videos on the UFSTSG Facebook page. The finalists will be interviewed by UFSTSG’s franchise department management and narrowed to the winners.  The winners will be awarded the companies VTax business model opportunity.  Interested candidates can enter online at The winners will be announced weekly.

To qualify, an entrant must be age 21 or older, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Contestants will go through the same qualification process as all UFSTSG applicants, including background check, training, and certifications.

DALLAS, Texas, Sept. 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/

Umbrella Financial Services Tax Solutions Group (UFSTSG) today announced a new partnership with World Financial Group (WFG). The multi-year agreement marks the company’s first-ever collaboration with a financial services provider.

As Tax Services Partner of WFG, UFSTSG will offer its tax preparation services to all WFG independent associates.  As a result, WFG independent associates can refer their insurance, pension, and related financial services clients to UFSTSG for tax preparation and tax planning services.

“We look forward to bringing our nearly ten years of tax knowledge and expertise to hundreds of thousands of WFG’s agents and clients,” says founder and chief executive officer Kevin Murphy.”

WFG is not a franchise and does not charge any franchise fees.  UFSTSG’s partnership with WFG will also allow its licensees the ability to join WFG.  UFSTSG pays administrative costs to participate.  The company’s name and logo are available to UFSTSG licensees at no cost.  UFSTSG licensees will have the ability to offer non-licensed financial products like property and casualty insurance and estate planning documents including a will, trust, and power of attorney.  To sell licensed product and services offered by WFG, a UFSTSG licensee will need to become fully life-licensed which involves, but not limited to, expenses associated with exam materials, exam fees, registration fees, other educational cost and appointments with insurance companies.  Combining WFG’s seamless solutions helps uncover specific client needs to increase revenue-generating activities for UFSTSG’s licensees and independent contractors.  WFG’s business platform provides UFSTSG with a unique opportunity to increase their offerings to customers and provide a variety of avenues to generate revenue and expand your business by obtaining new licenses and become a registered representative.

“We are very pleased to begin a relationship with WFG.  They are a great brand that fits well with our brand,” said Mr. Murphy. “The WFG’s products and services align closely with the UFSTSG tax services, so it’s a natural fit.” Leveraging client’s current financial needs, uncovering advanced financial planning, and aligning client need to various financial services, allow our licensees to add more profit to their bottom line and make money year-round.  It is a true industry game changer. The strategic partnership with WFG offers UFSTSG’s licensees a dynamic business platform to help you build your financial services business. UFSTSG provides support and services to make their business strong, so licensees do not just survive in this business, they prosper.”

“We had been considering partnering with a major insurance provider for some time, so this opportunity with WFG just felt right, our partnership with WFG sets UFSTSG apart from our competition. We are indeed providing individuals the opportunity to own and operate a Financial Services Business that Rewards You for Helping Others.”

Partnership tips off Dec. 1st.

About World Financial Group Canada Inc.

World Financial Group Canada Inc. (WFG) is a financial service marketing company whose independent associates offer life insurance, mutual funds, and other financial services products through its affiliated companies, World Financial Group Insurance Agency of Canada Inc. and WFG Securities Inc. WFG’s long-standing mission is quite simple: to help families have better financial futures. The company’s independent associates are located across Canada, and serve individuals and families in their local communities. You can learn more about WFG at


In February and March every year, it probably feels like there are more sign spinners on the streets than there are Starbucks locations. As booming as tax filing services are from one spring to the next, starting your own tax preparation business can seem like an excellent way to earn a bit of extra dough during the first few months of the year. Right now, it probably feels like tax preparation season is pretty far off, which means now is the time to get started on starting your business! Here’s what you need to know before you dive in:


An Ever-Growing Market

You’ve probably heard that old Benjamin Franklin quote once or twice about nothing in life being certain except for death and taxes. Well, he was certainly right there. Tax preparation is an ever-growing industry and offers a wealth of options to make a living, whether you choose to dive in full time or only part of the year. With a bit of training, you can capitalize on those in your area who seek help with how to fill out and file a tax return. It can be a great way to simply earn a bit extra during the first few months of the year or turn it into a year-round career. Of course, in order to do so legally, you’ll need to take a few steps.


Register Your Business

Local Registration

As with any other business, in order to be a recognized legal entity, you’ll need to register your business. You will need to check to see what the requirements are in your state, as they do vary somewhat. Commonly, the first step is to choose what sort of entity your business will be—are you thinking of starting up a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC)? If you’re unsure, you can often register your small business through a “Doing Business As” (DBA) form, which will start the registration process without declaring which type of entity yours will be. You’ll also need to follow the registration process and obtain any necessary licenses or certifications according to the legalities where you live.


IRS Registration

In addition to registering your business with your city and state, you will likely need to register and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and an Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) from the IRS. The IRS requires that, if you’re filing more than 11 tax returns a year, you also must become an Authorized e-File Provider. You can begin that process online through the IRS website by creating an IRS e-services account. You and anyone who will prepare and file a tax return through your business will need a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), which you can get from the IRS during this process.


Plan The Type of Business

Operating a tax preparation business is a bit more complex than sticking up a sign and opening your doors when tax season rolls around. You’ll need to consider precisely what sort of business yours will be and what range of tax filing services your office will offer. Are you planning on operating year-round, or just for the few months of tax season? Do you want to focus on helping individuals file a tax return, or would you prefer to work primarily with businesses? Will you offer supplemental services like bookkeeping or payroll? The quantity, level, and variety of services you want to offer will determine the certifications and qualifications you and your staff will need.


Your answers to the questions above will dictate a lot of the education and credentialing process you’ll need. If your business will be just you offering tax filing services, and you only plan on doing so during the peak season, you probably don’t need to go as far as becoming a certified public accountant (CPA). However, choosing to earn your CPA credentials may be beneficial and necessary if you want to also offer bookkeeping and payroll for local businesses.


Get Help Getting Started

At Umbrella Financial Services, we offer two different options to help you offer tax filing services. As a licensee, you’d own your own tax preparation business. Or become a VTax independent agent and offer tax filing services on your own schedule. Learn more about both options here or contact our team today to get started!


In the couple of months before taxes are due each year, it’s not horribly uncommon to have lines long enough to snake out the door of the local tax preparation business. When business is that booming, it probably looks pretty enticing, especially if you’ve already been thinking about starting your own tax preparation business. But, unfortunately for business, the tax season isn’t a year-round thing. So, what happens once tax day passes and that frantic need for an accountant peters out?


If you’ve been contemplating opening your own tax preparation business, this question is one of the most important. After all, while business may boom for a handful of months early in the year, unless you’re planning carefully for that income, it can be difficult to figure out how to earn sufficient income through the other three-quarters of a year. If you have been thinking about starting your own tax preparation business, here are a few options to consider in order to make money year-round.


Individual & Small Business Taxes

In the hubbub of weeks leading up to April 15th, it can be pretty easy to forget that there are other federal and state tax deadlines that happen throughout the year. Yes, the primary due date for individuals to file a tax return falls during that second week in April, but there are a lot of caveats there. Individuals can file for an extension for a wide number of reasons. When this happens, a lot of the causes are tax situations complex enough that they need more time—and likely also the assistance of a certified tax preparer. It’s a bit simplistic to say you won’t get business once the deadline to file federal income tax has passed; the number will decline, but there will still be a decent group of people looking for help.


In addition to individuals looking for help to file a tax return, don’t forget the business owners! While it’s true that tax filing due dates vary based on the type of business entity, the important piece of information here is that there are multiple due dates throughout the calendar year. One way many certified tax preparers generate income year-round is by marketing to local businesses to assist with their tax preparation on a quarterly basis, or however frequently they require assistance.


Offer Representation

If the IRS decides to audit someone, this can be an arduous and complicated process. The level of qualification you have as a certified tax preparer determines how much representation you are allowed to offer a client. PTIN holders and Annual Filing Season Participants are only allowed to offer a limited amount of representation, which means that, if they didn’t prepare and sign the tax return in question, these two groups of tax preparers cannot offer representation assistance. On the other hand, attorneys and certified public accountants are licensed by either state courts or a state licensing board, so they are allowed to offer representation to anyone seeking help through the audit process. The good news is, you don’t have to become a certified public accountant or an attorney to offer representation; there’s a third option. With some additional education and an exam, any certified tax preparer can become an enrolled agent, which would allow them to provide representation for audits, payment or collections issues, and appeals.



Financial Services

Another common way to bolster business on a year-round basis is to offer additional financial assistance. More often than not, this means providing bookkeeping and/or payroll services to local businesses. Some of these services may require some additional education or licensing up front, but can offer a better source of regular income for your tax preparation business over the course of a year. Many businesses prefer to combine these services with whoever is handling their tax preparation, for a more simple and seamless process overall.


Starting Your Tax Preparation Business

When it comes to offering tax preparation services and starting your own business, there are plenty of ways to make it work throughout the year, not just during tax season. Learn about starting your own tax preparation business or becoming an independent agent with VTax. Contact the Umbrella Financial Services team today to learn more or get started!


One of the questions we hear pretty frequently here at Umbrella Financial Services is whether paying for a tax specialist or software to file a tax return is worth it. While it is possible to file your federal and state tax returns for free—or, at least, for the cost of an envelope and stamp—is that savings really worth it in the grand scheme of things? There are more factors in play than just cost versus savings. If you’re just now joining us, be sure to check back and read part one of this blog so you don’t miss out on what we covered before. Here is what you ought to consider before deciding on handling the income tax return filing process on your own:


Time and Knowledge

As we discussed last time, two of the biggest factors that should factor in to filing your own tax return rather than using a tax prep app or software are how much time you have and how knowledgeable you are on the subject. First and foremost, it can be frighteningly easy to accidentally commit tax fraud if you claim a deduction that is no longer available, or if the restrictions have changed. The IRS changes tax regulations pretty frequently and, unless you keep up with each one, you could do more harm than good without meaning to. In addition, a thorough knowledge of the current tax code will ensure you’re getting the most savings possible by way of the array of deductions available based on a slew of different circumstances. The more you know about the current tax code, the more you’re likely to save.


In addition to having a thorough knowledge about tax codes, filing a tax return requires time. And, unfortunately, the less familiar you are with the process, the longer it is likely to take you. Where a tax prep app or online software will guide you step-by-step through the process and do all the hard work for you, filling out a tax return on your own doesn’t come with those nice, easy-to-follow prompts—nor does it have a handy built in calculator. If you decide you’ve got the time, be sure you double-check your math!


Technology Savviness

Often, a major reason for the holdout, especially for the older generation, is the hurdle of technology. Being computer savvy will make a big difference in the ease at which you can navigate that online tax prep app or software successfully. Of course, if you’re not a computer whiz, that doesn’t mean you are stuck filing your tax return on your own; a local tax return preparer can offer the same help without needing to jump online. For many, filing digitally is both safer and a more effective use of time, but that will depend on how comfortable you are navigating a computer.


Peace of Mind

Filing your tax return by way of a tax prep app, software, or a tax return preparer offers something that filing on your own cannot: an assurance of future assistance. The IRS can challenge a federal income tax return up to three years after it was filed (with the exceptions of fraud or underreporting, which have even longer time spans). This means that, for a tax return filed in April of this year, the IRS can come back to you in April of 2020 and challenge every single number you reported to them. If you claimed deductions, you’ll need to be able to show that what you’ve filed is accurate. The difference between filing on your own and filing through a tax prep app is support. Most services offer audit support as part of their service or for an additional fee. This means that, if the IRS comes to you for an accounting, you can get help from someone well-versed in navigating the tax world.



Should I Pay Up?

Paying for a professional tax service may seem like an unnecessary expense up front, especially when you can file both federal and state tax returns for free. However, you have to factor in how free that free filing really is. Whether you go the route of tax prep software or an in-person tax specialist, you will be paying a fee but, often, that fee for services is less than the amount you’ll recoup from additional deductions a tax specialist can find for your specific circumstances.


Get help from a tax specialist when it’s time to file. Try the Umbrella Financial Services tax prep app today!


Have you read the current iteration of the IRS’s tax code? It’s only 4 million or so words long. That should be no big deal to whiz through on a weekend, right? At Umbrella Financial Services Tax Solutions Group, one of the questions our team hears time and time again is from skeptics who wonder whether they really need tax preparation help. Whether we’re talking about a tax prep app on your smartphone, software you access on your computer, or the services of a local tax preparation professional, many feel it’s a waste of money to make use of a tax preparation service when you can file a hard copy of the form 1040 for free with the IRS. But is free really free?


Factoring Cost

Let’s start with the basics. When it comes to straightforward cost, filing a hard copy of the form 1040 is pretty close to free. You can download a printable version from the IRS website, fill it in by hand, and mail it to the IRS. So really, you’re only spending the cost of paper, an envelope, and a stamp. It’s the middle step—the filling in the form accurately part—that throws a wrench in the works for most people. Because, as we mentioned above, the IRS’s tax code is pretty extensive. Even with all the online resources available, it’s immensely difficult to ensure you’re getting every deduction available to you and calculating everything properly. So, when it really comes down to it, there is more that goes into the cost of tax prep than just the actual cost of filing.


Knowledge is Savings

First and foremost, the more knowledge you have about federal and state tax codes, the more likely you are to save on your tax return. A greater familiarity with the current deductions and laws means you’re more likely to know just how many will apply to you. If, however, you don’t really want to re-read the multi-million word tax code every year to ensure you’re filing everything properly, this is where a tax prep app or software can come in handy.


Companies like Umbrella Financial Services or TurboTax have the resources and staff available to comb through all the new tax code updates each year. This allows us to keep our tax prep app up to date with the most recent adjustments or alterations which, in turn, allows us to ensure you’re getting all the deductions and savings available based on your individual situation. You’re more likely to get more deductions (and more savings) if you file with a tax prep app or service because we have the resources to stay up to date and knowledgeable on a deeper level of the tax code.


Time is Money

Another big element to factor in is how long it takes you to actually calculate everything and fill out the form 1040. If you’re fresh out of college, you don’t own property, and you only have one job, filling out your tax return probably won’t take a ton of time. Conversely, if you own your own business, have multiple properties, have a spouse and/or kids, or any other number of things that make tax filing more complicated, it could realistically take multiple days to prepare your tax return. What is your time worth?


Generally speaking, unless you’re knowledgeable about the tax code and all the changes made from year to year—or your tax filing needs are very simple—the savings of filing on your own will be negated by all the time it takes you to find every deduction, calculate out every line, and figure out the end result. And that’s after you take the time to parse through the complexly written instructions that come along with the form 1040. If it’s going to take several hours on a weekend (or multiple days), ask yourself whether it’s worth it to lose those hours of free time in exchange for the savings of filing a tax return on your own.


There is more to tax preparation than time and cost, however. Stay tuned for the Umbrella Financial Services blog for part two of this post, where we’ll offer even more factors to consider before you decide whether filing for free is worth it. If you need tax help, check out our easy to use tax prep app today!



The tax preparation business is an ever-growing industry and, at least for the first few months every year, can seem to never have enough knowledgeable professional tax preparers for the influx of clients seeking tax preparation help. Considering the tax preparation industry as a whole saw a revenue of nearly $8 billion in 2014 alone, and is forecasted to continue growing year after year, this is an industry to get on board with quickly! However, before you dive straight into planning your own tax preparation business, let’s talk software.


Tax Return Software

Thanks to the modern technology age, it’s easier than ever to go through all the steps of tax return filing digitally and at your own pace. With most tax return software, you simply log in with your unique user ID and the system will prompt you to pick up where you left off. For so many people who get frustrated and overwhelmed when trying to input all the information accurately, tick all the right boxes, and find all the appropriate exemptions or deductions, being able to stop and start as much as they want is a welcome feature.


In addition, most tax return software helps walk you through every step of the tax return filing process, whether you are a professional tax preparer or filing taxes for the first time. The best tax return software options will not only securely save all of your information, it will guide you through the process of entering your income information, ask you about life circumstances that could lead to potential deductions, and generally make the process as seamless and simple as possible.


Choosing Wisely

Of course, that’s not to say that tax return software is without its faults. First, and most importantly, any tax return software is only as good as the information it is given. This means knowing which information goes into which box, diligently checking for typos on every page, and understanding what the software is asking you to do. It’s this last part that most often gives people trouble. If you aren’t well-versed with tax filing terminology or don’t stop to read each prompt carefully, you could miss out on deductions you’re qualified for and end up paying more than you need to when you submit your return.


Tax Return Software for Professionals

If you’re a professional tax preparer, you probably read that last list and scoffed a bit. After all, you’re trained and know your way around a tax return. If you’re on the hunt for the best tax return software to aid your tax preparation business, you will obviously have different concerns than the average consumer. However, that doesn’t mean you ought to simply pick the first tax return software you come across. How easy or complicated specific software is to use can make a big financial difference for your business. If you have a question or IT support, do you have a designated contact you can call? An IT issue with your software can set you back hours, potentially cost you clients, and impact your bottom line—and it may not even be your fault! During tax season especially, time is money, so you need to be sure your software will pull its own weight and, if something does go wrong, that you know you can get help when you need it.




This is where Umbrella Financial Services comes in. We offer the best tax return software for professional tax preparers hoping to start their own business. With our software comes everything you might need to get your tax preparation business off the ground quickly. Get IT and back office support when you need it, in both English and Spanish. Need training before you get started? Umbrella Financial Services offers both ownership training, to help your business be a success, and I.R.S tax law certification so you have the knowledge needed to navigate our software easily. File tax returns securely and digitally with our website and phone app, and even use our digital software to keep in touch with your clients!


Learn about these and all the other benefits to becoming an Umbrella Financial Services affiliate partner. Contact our knowledgeable team to get more information or get started with your own tax preparation business today!



By 2018, taxpayers across the U.S. will pay a forecasted $11,000,000,000 (yes, that’s billion) to file federal income taxes. This number includes both the services at tax preparation businesses and online tax preparation software, but that’s quite a hefty sum of revenue to be generated almost entirely during the first quarter of the year. As we discussed in a previous post, the number is that large because nearly every adult in the country, citizen or not, working or retired, is required to file a tax return. In fact, it’s easier to list out the circumstances in which you are not required to file than it is to specify every instance in which you are. As a certified tax preparer, are you making the most of your highly-valued skills to tap into this vast and constantly growing market?


Why You Should Set Up Shop

If you’ve ever worked as a certified tax preparer between February and April, you’ve likely seen first hand just how high the demand is for local tax preparers, no matter how large or small an area you live in. As someone with skills that are in high demand, it’s only natural that you’ve been thinking about branching out and starting your own tax preparation business. You’re not alone there! Across the United States, the vast majority of tax preparation services are small businesses. More than half of the tax preparation businesses across the U.S. are operated by 10 or fewer people and nearly 40 percent are a business of one.

Starting your own tax preparation business means you can:

  • Set your own hours and rate of pay—at the height of tax season, when the demand for local tax preparers is soaring, you could earn $100 an hour or more.
  • Earn enough in three to four months to live on for the year—of course, living on what you’ll make during tax season for the other eight months will take careful planning and a solid budget, but it can be done!
  • Get started quickly—with a tax preparation business affiliate program like the one we offer at Umbrella Financial Services, you can get your business up and running without franchise fees so you can get earning sooner.


Potential Pitfalls and Future Planning

Of course, the logical side of you may come back argue that tax season is only a couple of months long. Even if the revenue flows in like a waterfall for a couple of months, that may not be the best basis for a long-term business investment. Depending on your tax preparation know-how, it doesn’t have to be a part-time business, but you will definitely notice a slow in business once tax day and later extension dates have passed. Many local tax preparers take this time to focus on assisting local small businesses with their annual taxes, setting up payroll systems, and so on. However, plenty of certified tax preparers accept the highly seasonal nature of tax preparation. As you’ve undoubtedly seen helping others set up business plans for their own small businesses, proper planning can go a long way toward a successful business.


Starting a Tax Preparation Business

Whether you seek to start your own tax preparation business on a full-time or part-time basis, Umbrella Financial Services is here to help! We offer the best tax preparation software and support to help you start your business, in whatever shape that takes. We don’t charge franchise fees so you can get up and running faster, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be there to support you when you need it! At Umbrella Financial Services, we offer you round-the-clock support and IT help in both English and Spanish. If you aren’t certified yet, we can provide ownership training and I.R.S. tax law certification so you can be the knowledgeable source your tax preparation business needs in order to be successful. Our tax preparation software is offered both online and in a secure smartphone app for your convenience and that of your clients.

Whether you’ve been thinking about starting up a tax preparation business on a full-time or part-time basis, Umbrella Financial Services is here to help you start down the road to success. Contact us today to learn more about our affiliate program and the benefits we offer local tax preparers!


For so many Americans, tax time means a full weekend dedicated to hours of frustration, too many cups of coffee (or wine), and more than one angry exclamation at the tax preparation software when it spits out information that doesn’t look accurate. If this sounds like a familiar experience, you may be in need of an accountant. “But I don’t earn enough to warrant an accountant!” you may think. When it comes to income tax return filing, hiring an accountant is not about how much you earn, but about your accountancy skills and your tax knowledge.


But, Do I Really Need an Accountant?

There is no hard and fast rule about whether you do or do not need to hire an accountant to help you file your tax return. If you’re a whiz with numbers and you’re familiar with all the information on the I.R.S. website, a tax prep app or online software may be sufficient for you to file your taxes with minimal hassle. On the other hand, if you run your own business, have two kids in college, earn six figures a year, and rent out a few of the properties as vacation rentals, your tax situation is probably plenty complex and trying to file a tax return on your own may just take days, not hours.


So, what is the line between filing on your own, with or without the guidance of a tax prep app, and hiring a tax specialist to help you through your tax return? Let’s put it into straightforward financial terms. Say, for example, you spend 5 hours on a Saturday filling out your tax return with online software. At work, you earn $10 an hour, so for the sake of argument (and a lot of generalization), your free time can be calculated along the same value lines. 5 hours of time doing tax preparation and filing work means you’ve essentially cost yourself $50. Which may or may not sound awful on its own, but when you add in the cost to e-file federal taxes through most online software, is it still worth it? Of course, this doesn’t even factor in how little you enjoy sitting down and struggling through the filing process. Between the cost for your time and the actual cost for tax filing software, is it still worth it to avoid going to an accountant?



Hiring an accountant isn’t necessarily just a function of how much you earn in a year; it’s more about how complex your tax situation is. Someone fresh out of college, who doesn’t own a home yet, isn’t married, and doesn’t have kids may be able to get by filing taxes through an online tax software program, even if they don’t have much (or any) tax knowledge. However, if you bring in income from rental properties, own a business, are married with dependents, or generally have a move complex source of income and tax payments, an accountant can make a big difference in how quickly your taxes get filed and how much or little you have to pay. The difference here is that a tax prep app is only as good as the information it is given. It may try to prompt you through certain life events or areas for potential tax breaks, but tax software isn’t going to be as helpful as a tax specialist—unless that tax prep app is being operated by the tax specialist. Some situations in which you may want to hire an accountant to help with your taxes include:

  • Earning more than $200,000 a year
  • Having a foreign source of income
  • You own a business, have rental properties, or are self-employed
  • You’re planning to make a sizeable donation
  • You’re thinking of selling one (or multiple) properties



Hiring a Tax Accountant

One of the biggest benefits of hiring a trained tax return preparer is that they actually know the ins and outs of federal and state tax law. Not only will you need to spend less time preparing to file your taxes, you can benefit from expert knowledge about exemptions and deductions you may not have known you qualify for. The more complicated your tax situation, the more those deductions add up to make a big impact on the bottom line when you file a tax return.


Whether you choose a tax prep app or take all your documents to a tax specialist, be sure you’re finding knowledgeable tax help near you! At Umbrella Financial Services, we help with all sides of the tax preparation business. If you’re a tax specialist, talk to us about how to start your own business. If you’re seeing tax help, try VTax, our tax prep app, to be connected with a tax specialist from the comfort and security of our specially designed smartphone app! Contact us today to get started!


Anyone earning income needs to file a tax return

This is the easiest category of taxpayers to quantify. After all, it’s called an income tax return for a reason! With very few exceptions, anyone who holds down a job has some money withheld from each paycheck to pay into federal taxes, social security taxes, Medicare, and state income taxes (where applicable). This includes anyone who is a full-time employee, part-time employee, or a seasonal worker. If you are self-employed or a freelancer, you may or may not see any variety of tax withholding on your paycheck, but that depends on how your pay is set up. The long and short of it is, if you’re earning an income, the federal government is going to expect their cut and, generally, it’s easier to take a bit out of your paycheck before it even hits your bank account than it is to pay one large lump sum once a year. In addition to anyone in the workforce, there are a few more subsets of people required to pay taxes that you may not immediately assume; these include:


Those working in the United States who don’t have a Social Security number

That’s right, the lack of a social security number does not exempt you from paying federal income taxes. If you are working for an employer in the United States, the U.S. government expects you to pay taxes, whether you are a citizen, resident alien, or even some non-resident aliens. Generally speaking, if you earn money in the U.S., you will likely need to pay taxes on that income. If you do not have a Social Security number, you will need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number in order to file your tax return. Be sure you don’t forget to keep your I.T.I.N. current, as well as those for your immediate family members, as that number will allow you to provide eligibility for Social Security benefits and qualify dependents for tax credits.



You may be wondering, if you are beyond the age where you are part of the workforce and not earning an income any longer, why do you still need to file taxes? Just because you aren’t actively an employee doesn’t legally mean you’re no longer earning income. Some retirement savings plans, pensions, and annuities can still count as income, though it may not be the traditional income you’re thinking of. Even Social Security disbursements count as taxable income! The general guideline is, if you had money taken out of your pay before taxes could be applied to them, you’ll be responsible for paying taxes on those funds when you begin pulling savings out of your accounts.


Tax Filing Exemptions

As you are probably coming to understand, the vast majority of adults (and working teens) are responsible for filing a tax return. The few exceptions to this rule are those who earn less than the standard deduction plus one exemption or you are the dependent of another taxpayer—in which case your tax information will be filed under your parent’s or guardian’s tax return. If you’re unsure whether you are exempt from filing, the IRS website has a handy interactive tool to determine if you should file or not.


Tax Filing Services

If you are a certified tax preparer, this is good news for you! Since nearly every adult in the country is required to file a federal tax return, tax filing services are always in demand and, if Benjamin Franklin’s assessment about death and taxes can be trusted, that demand isn’t likely to go away anytime soon, if at all. Start your own tax preparation business with the help of Umbrella Financial Services! We provide everything you could need, from the professional tax preparation software and support to IRS enrollment and registration assistance, ownership training, and even IRS tax law certification. Contact the Umbrella Financial Services team to learn more and get started today!