As a small business owner, tax season can be an overwhelming time. Filing your taxes accurately and on time is essential to avoid penalties and ensure your business complies with tax regulations. Many business owners face the dilemma of choosing between tax preparation services and hiring a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to complete their taxes. There are key differences between these two options, and you need to be aware of the details to determine the best choice for your small business.




Tax preparation services, like H&R Block or TurboTax, often employ tax preparers who have undergone basic tax training. While these preparers may have a solid understanding of individual tax returns, they may need more specialized knowledge to navigate complex small business tax issues.


CPAs have completed rigorous education, passed the Uniform CPA Examination, and met strict licensing requirements in their state. They possess in-depth knowledge of tax laws, regulations, and accounting principles, making them well-equipped to handle the unique tax needs of small businesses.


“I have often thought that if a person had to physically write a check for their federal and state withholding and see how much they actually pay in taxes… things would be different,” says owner John Estess. Ensuring that the correct amount is withheld can prevent underpayment, which could lead to penalties or overpayment, resulting in an unnecessarily large refund. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) can play a crucial role in helping individuals complete W-4 forms to accurately and optimize their tax withholding.


Personalized Service


Tax preparation services typically offer a more standardized approach to tax filing. While this may be sufficient for simple tax situations, small businesses with more complex tax needs may require a more tailored approach.


A CPA can provide personalized service by taking the time to understand your business’s unique tax situation and offering tailored advice. They can help you identify deductions, credits, and tax planning strategies specific to your industry and financial circumstances.




Tax preparation services tend to be more affordable than hiring a CPA. This option may attract businesses with straightforward tax situations or limited budgets.


While hiring a CPA can be more expensive, the investment may be worthwhile for small businesses with more complex tax needs. The expertise and personalized service a CPA provides can result in tax savings that more than offset the higher cost.


Ongoing Support


Most tax preparation services focus primarily on filing your annual tax return. While some services may offer audit support, they typically do not provide comprehensive financial advice or ongoing support throughout the year.


In addition to tax preparation, CPAs can offer various financial services, including bookkeeping, financial statement preparation, and tax planning. This ongoing support can help your business make informed financial decisions and proactively address tax issues before they become problematic.


Audit Support


Some tax preparation services offer audit support in the event of an IRS audit. However, this support is often limited and may not provide the same level of expertise as a CPA.


In the event of an audit, a CPA can provide valuable guidance and representation, helping you navigate the audit process and potentially reducing your tax liability. Their knowledge of tax laws and regulations can be a significant asset during this stressful time.


Ultimately, it’s essential to choose the option that best aligns with your business’s needs and provides you with the peace of mind that your taxes are filed accurately and in compliance with all relevant tax regulations.


At Estess CPAs, we believe information and planning enhance success. Specializing in small business solutions, we believe the key to successfully managing any business starts with well-informed accounting and payroll systems. Accurate and timely data empowers companies to analyze and react to upcoming needs and changes. Our professionals are experts at keeping accounting systems and payroll processes running smoothly.