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Why You Really Need to Use a Tax Professional

Preparing your own taxes is a really brave thing to do. It requires a certain amount of confidence to take on a powerful institution like the Internal Revenue Service; the kind of institution that has the ability to ruin your finances and drag you down into the depths of a time-consuming audit.

But most people these days aren’t really filing their taxes themselves—they’re using software programs that guide them along and summarize the process for them. While this can speed things up, electronic filing services aren’t really prepared to cater to your specific tax needs. They have a kind of one-size-fits-all mentality.

Check City offers one-on-one tax preparation with a professional, which is really the best option if you want to get the maximum refund possible, and if you want the peace of mind that comes with trusting in our expertise.

A Tax Professional will save you time

The IRS estimates that it takes an average person 16 hours to complete the tax form 1040. With your busy lifestyle, do you really have 16 hours to spend pouring over your taxes?

With all the distractions of family life, the home isn’t really ideally suited for tax preparation. It’s more likely that you’ll miss an important detail with your kids running around the table, or blasting the television.

Our office offers you a calm place to sit down with one of our tax professionals, where you can focus on the important details that you might overlook on your own. Once we have all the information we need from you, we’ll carry on without you so you can get back to the things that really matter in your life.

A Tax Professional will save you a headache

There have been nearly 5,000 changes to the tax code since 2001—are you sure you can keep on top of all those new rules?

It’s your tax professional’s job to know all the ins and outs of the tax code, so that you don’t have to sweat it.

Changes in your life can have big tax implications

If you’ve recently moved or changed jobs, you’ll need a tax professional to help you navigate the various tax implications these events can have.

When you sit down with a tax professional one-on-one, he or she gets to know you as a unique individual. And then your return can be filed with your personal situation in mind. These are the things that tax software can’t offer you—a computer can never get to know the real you.

Using a Tax Professional gives you peace of mind

There’s a 3-year statute of limitations, excluding cases of fraud or underreporting, for when the IRS can come after you with an audit. When you trust a tax professional to prepare your taxes, you really are covering all your bases.

Don’t forget: Tax Professionals get you more $$$!!!!

A tax professional knows all the little deductions and tax breaks that add up to a bigger refund. You can even deduct any tax preparation fees on next year’s taxes, so there’s really no reason not to seek out our tax preparation services.

Walk into any Check City office today, no appointment necessary, and sit down with one of our tax professionals. You’ll be surprised how much money, and anxiety, we can save you this tax season.

Top 4 things every tax payer forgets

Every year, taxes come around and just one little thing was forgotten. These little things tend to actually make a big difference, and it’s a good idea to get a head start on your taxes now while you still have time to correct any accidental mistakes. Here are a few of the most commonly made mistakes. If you’re not sure if any of these apply to you, remember that there are trained tax professionals at all of our Check City locations can help.


If you have been released from a position within the past year and have been receiving unemployment benefits in compensation for a lack of salary, a portion of that is still considered taxable. There are two ways to avoid the shock when taxes come around. Before you receive any benefits you can opt to automatically lose 10 percent of every check to the IRS by filling out a Voluntary Withholding Request (W-4V). If, when the time comes, you don’t feel that you can part with all of the tax money you owe from unemployment, you can pay estimated taxes.


Often with the stress of divorce, taxes seem like little to no importance and you forget that the alimony you receive must also go towards taxes. To prevent all of your alimony and other untaxed income to go to the IRS in a big chunk in April, look into estimated tax filings. If you also receive child support in addition to your alimony, those are not taxable and you do not have to worry about losing a cent of it to the IRS.

Prize Winnings

How fair would it be if you won a competition and got all of the prize money? Well, it does seem fair but the IRS doesn’t play that way. That money is still considered taxable, and in all the hubbub you are likely to forget how much of it you are really due. This also applies to any property you win, and you have to pay taxes on the fair market value of it. Whoever you won the prize from will give you a form declaring how much the prize is worth and you must report it in your taxes. If you are caught underreporting what you earned, you will most likely become subject to an investigation.

Money earned from gambling is taxable as well, however you can subtract any losses you may have sustained gambling from your winnings, which may even out how much you have to pay in taxes.

Social Security Benefits

If you are receiving Social Security benefits as the only source of your income, you have nothing to worry about and the money isn’t taxable. But if you have another source of income, those benefits are considered fair game to the IRS. They can tax up to 85 percent of your Social Security
checks. Much like the unemployment checks, you have two options. Either automatically have the tax money deducted from the check when you get it, or pay estimated tax payments.

If you have any questions about your taxes and how much you owe, talk to a professional. All of our Check City locations offer tax services so don’t be the one to make the mistake that will cost you big time when tax season comes around.

Tax Breaks for Pet Owners

In 2009 republican senator Thaddeus McCotter introduced the bill H.R. 3501, nominally referred to as the HAPPY bill, in an effort to grant long desired tax breaks to pet owners across the nation. HAPPY gained good support through its early phases and received endorsements from nearly every organization and non-profit around the country that deals with animal rights, treatment, and care, but eventually the bill stalled and failed.

With the failure of the HAPPY bill to be passed into law, millions of Americans across the nation continue to care and provide for their furry family members without being able to claim the costs of pet ownership as deductions for their taxes. Which, when one considers how much it takes to keep a pet, can be a considerable financial burden.

Some have compared owning a pet to raising a child. Perhaps not in the same rearing and nurturing way, although there are plenty of pet owners who would argue differently, but certainly owning a pet and raising children are similar in the financial responsibilities category, and this can be shown through the numbers.

Just as a parent is responsible for providing for their children, pet owners are charged with the duty of caring for their pets, and this care can be expensive. Recent studies have shown that pet ownership can cost a family, depending on the type of pet, anywhere from $235.00 for a fish all the way to over $1800.00 for a large dog!

Ways to Claim Pet Expenses on Taxes

While the IRS will not even consider the notion of claiming a pet as a dependent (although many individuals have tried to do so over the years) there are several ways to receive tax breaks for pet ownership if one knows what to look for. Not all of the following ideas may pertain to all pet owners, but those who qualify can receive the tax breaks they have been looking for concerning pet ownership.

Moving Deductions

The first deduction that can be made for owning a pet comes in the form of moving. Because pets are considered property by the forces that be (the IRS) a person can receive a tax deduction for the costs of moving their pets the same way they would for moving the rest of their property.

Pest Control

Another way to receive a tax break on the pets of the home is to make use of the animal in one of the tax exemptible ways. One man received a tax break on the pet food he bought for his cats because he could prove that owning the cats helped his business by hunting and clearing the junkyard he operated of mice and other vermin.

Guard Dogs

In a similar way, if you cannot claim your pet as a part of your business expenses, you can try claiming the services of the animal as a guard dog. If the family pet doubles as a ferocious security guard on a valuable property or gated home, then the animal can be tax deductible for the service it provides; be pet owners should be warned, the dog must actually look the part before consideration is given so dachshunds and pugs are out.

While these were just a few of the ways to claim deductions on pets, there are others that pet owners can take advantage of. So remember, the best way to ensure that you are able to get all of the tax return you deserve is to consult with a tax professional. If you live in Utah you can visit any Check City location and take advantage of our Utah tax services.

Tired of the Annual Tax Hassle?

It’s that time of year again… TAX TIME! This year instead of sifting through those shoe boxes full of receipts in your closet and trying make sense of stacks of tax forms, come down to your local Check City and see how simple taxes can be with Lighting Tax. With Lightning Tax one of our friendly, experienced tax professionals will guide you through the entire tax preparation process.

Our Licensed Tax Professionals Will:

  • Get your Taxes Prepared and e-Filed
  • Find out how to save money and accelerate the refunds process
  • Help you cash your tax refund check today for a low rate

Tell a Friend and Get Paid!

In addition to taking advantage of our Lightning Tax services yourself, you can also make money by referring your friends and family to Check City to get their taxes done!

How it Works:

  1. Refer a friend to Lightning Tax Services
  2. Your friend completes their taxes with Lightning Tax
  3. Your friend pays the tax preparation fee in full
  4. We will send you a prepaid Visa card loaded with $20.00*
  5. Your friend will recieve $10 off of their tax preparation fee

What else should I know?

  • You do not need to accompany you friend to the store when they complete their taxes
  • The friend you refer must be a first time Lighting tax customer and not from the same household as you
  • You do not need to be a Lighting Tax customer to refer a friend, but you do need to be a Check City customer
  • You can refer as many friends, acquaintances or family members as you want
  • Offer not valid with any other promotions

*certain fees apply with the use of prepaid Visa card

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