The Pros and Cons of Doing Your Own Taxes

Authored by Robert A. Trezza in Education 
Published on 04-02-2009

April 15th is a deadline date that rivals that of term papers being due in college. Many people rush to the post office waiting for the last possible minute to mail their taxes. Tax season can be a stressful time of year, but it does not have to be if you get an early and accurate start. Still the question is left, should one do their own taxes or is it better to have them prepared by a professional? Both have their pros and cons and we will examine each.

Preparing your own taxes may not be as difficult as it may seem at first, especially if your return is not too complex. If you have a large amount of deductions or property it may become a bit more time consuming, but it is still a task that is easily done. Some folks will tell you they can knock off their taxes in an hour, while others will tell tales of their families not recognizing them on Monday morning, while they crunched numbers all weekend. Many factors can change the length of your return such as, marriage, new career, second income or children.

Where cost is concerned having a CPA may run you a few more dollars, but may assure you an accurate return, especially on an intricate return. Also your CPA will be your aid in the event of an audit, as well as offer you advice as to what can or cannot be deducted. If you are still concerned about paying too much to file your taxes a tax software such as TurboTax or Tax Act can be purchased for at low cost. You can also file online with companies like H&R Block for a small fee.

Filing on your own from home offers the benefit of preparing your taxes from the comfort of your own home and at your own convenience. As you will be able to prepare and finish your taxes on your own time, you will be able to file them early and get your return faster, as well as save you money. When filing online be sure to keep an eye out for hidden fees that some online sites will include. Some sites will tell you their service is free, but if you have numerous deductions or choose to file state there may be charges as well. Also keep in mind that if you allow these programs to deduct their fees from your return that may be an extra charge as well.

So whether you call on Bob your plumber by day, use tax software, do it yourself or seek the aid of a CPA we all must file taxes once a year, so finding an easy and affordable method is crucial. When deciding to prepare your taxes on your own, be sure it is something you truly feel you will want to take on and know how. Be sure not to just file them on your own just to save the fees of an account, as it can end up costing much more in the long run.


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