Hiring a certified public accountant (CPA) could be a better option instead of doing your taxes by yourself, but it depends on your tax situation and preferences. Having a CPA do your taxes is usually recommended if you have a business or any type of side job, or if you’ve been contacted by the IRS for a tax-related matter. Others who can benefit are those who own rental properties or have many assets. You can also hire a CPA if you need help understanding what deductions or credit you might qualify for.

An audit of financial statements aims to express or disclaim an independent opinion on the financial statements. The auditor expresses an independent opinion on the fairness with which the financial statements presents the financial position, results of operations, and cash flows of an entity, in accordance with the generally acceptable accounting principle (GAAP) and "in all material respects". An auditor is also required to identify circumstances in which the generally acceptable accounting principles (GAAP) has not been consistently observed.[39]
Managerial accounting uses much of the same data as financial accounting, but it organizes and utilizes information in different ways. Namely, in managerial accounting, an accountant generates monthly or quarterly reports that a business's management team can use to make decisions about how the business operates. Managerial accounting also encompasses many other facets of accounting, including budgeting, forecasting and various financial analysis tools. Essentially, any information that may be useful to management falls underneath this umbrella.
The first published work on a double-entry bookkeeping system was the Summa de arithmetica, published in Italy in 1494 by Luca Pacioli (the "Father of Accounting").[21][22] Accounting began to transition into an organized profession in the nineteenth century,[23][24] with local professional bodies in England merging to form the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 1880.[25]

In addition to being the largest bankruptcy reorganization in American history, the Enron scandal undoubtedly is the biggest audit failure.[73] It involved a financial scandal of Enron Corporation and their auditors Arthur Andersen, which was revealed in late 2001. The scandal caused the dissolution of Arthur Andersen, which at the time was one of the five largest accounting firms in the world. After a series of revelations involving irregular accounting procedures conducted throughout the 1990s, Enron filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2001.[74]
Accounting or accountancy is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial and non financial information about economic entities[1][2] such as businesses and corporations. Accounting, which has been called the "language of business",[3] measures the results of an organization's economic activities and conveys this information to a variety of users, including investors, creditors, management, and regulators.[4] Practitioners of accounting are known as accountants. The terms "accounting" and "financial reporting" are often used as synonyms.

One consequence of these events was the passage of Sarbanes–Oxley Act in the United States 2002, as a result of the first admissions of fraudulent behavior made by Enron. The act significantly raises criminal penalties for securities fraud, for destroying, altering or fabricating records in federal investigations or any scheme or attempt to defraud shareholders.[75]

In addition to being the largest bankruptcy reorganization in American history, the Enron scandal undoubtedly is the biggest audit failure.[73] It involved a financial scandal of Enron Corporation and their auditors Arthur Andersen, which was revealed in late 2001. The scandal caused the dissolution of Arthur Andersen, which at the time was one of the five largest accounting firms in the world. After a series of revelations involving irregular accounting procedures conducted throughout the 1990s, Enron filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2001.[74]

Donations to qualified charities are eligible for a deduction as well. Cash and check donations are deductible and full, and most gifts of property are also deductible up to their fair market value. The key to claiming charitable deductions is to make sure you get the appropriate acknowledgment from the charity that you made the gift, because you'll need that documentation in order to support your deduction in case you're audited.

The mortgage interest deduction allows homeowners to deduct interest on up to $750,000 of mortgage debt, with higher grandfathered deductions on up to $1 million in debt applying to those who had such mortgages outstanding before the beginning of 2018. Certain home equity loans used to purchase, build, or improve your home also qualify for the interest deduction.
To take advantage of these lower rates, taxpayers should ensure that they meet the requirements for qualified dividend income and long-term capital gains. Most dividends that U.S. stocks pay qualifies, but any dividends that don't qualify get taxed at higher ordinary income tax rates. Selling an investment you've held for a year or less makes any gain short-term rather than long-term, and short-term capital gains also get taxed at ordinary tax rates. If you pick good dividend stocks and hold your investments for the long run, the tax laws reward you with lower rates.
Accounting firms grew in the United States and Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and through several mergers there were large international accounting firms by the mid-twentieth century. Further large mergers in the late twentieth century led to the dominance of the auditing market by the "Big Five" accounting firms: Arthur Andersen, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.[48] The demise of Arthur Andersen following the Enron scandal reduced the Big Five to the Big Four.[49]
Tax gain-loss harvesting is another form of tax planning or management relating to investments. It is helpful because it can use a portfolio's losses to offset overall capital gains. According to the IRS, short and long-term capital losses must first be used to offset capital gains of the same type. In other words, long-term losses offset long-term gains before offsetting short-term gains. As of 2018, short-term capital gains, or earnings from assets owned for less than one year, are taxed at ordinary income rates. 

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