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Tax season is in full swing. If you’re smart, you’re already making plans to avoid future headaches. But should you use tax software or a tax professional?
Dave always leans toward hiring a pro for anything important. By hiring the right professional to do an important job, you will save more time, money and stress than you would by trying to learn how to do it yourself. Tax software can save you a little money on the front end, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you.
Related: Overwhelmed by tax preparation? Use a tax expert and skip the stress.
Here are some situations that can help you decide which option is best for you.
Local experts you can trust.Find an ELP
You’re young, single, and don’t own a home.
Your tax return will probably be simple and straightforward. This is especially true if you plan to take the standard, no-questions-asked deduction.
Solution: Your return may be simple enough to choose software. However, the potential savings may not be enough to justify the risk of doing your taxes on your own.
Related: Tax preparation doesn’t have to be a pain. Save time and reduce hassle by gathering the right paperwork the first time around. Download your free tax preparation checklist.
Forms make you nervous.
If you’re not comfortable sorting through documents, typing in numbers, and proofreading your forms, then avoid all tax software.
Solution: Get a tax pro to give you peace of mind.
You have no idea what you’re doing.
Most people fall into this category. If you’ve tried to read the U.S. tax code, you probably got confused. It's so complicated that it can drive a Harvard graduate to fits of rage.
Solution: If you don’t want to spend days and weeks researching your deductions, then get a tax pro.
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You’re older, married, and own a home.
You can expect a complicated tax return if you have bought or sold a home, own a rental property, are self-employed, trade stocks, or have a lot of itemized deductions.
Solution: Hire a tax pro to save yourself a headache.
You experienced a major life change in the past year.
Did you get married or divorced? Did you start your own business or receive an inheritance? These life changes cause confusion when it’s time to file taxes.
Solution: Get a tax pro to make sure you file your return correctly under your new circumstances.
Related: Run your own business? Save time on tax prep with our free checklist to help you gather the right documents the first time around. Download your free tax preparation checklist.
Your Next Step
If you think tax software is the right choice, you’ll have no trouble finding options. However, if your situation requires a tax pro's help, make sure you get someone who is reliable and trustworthy. Dave recommends that you talk with one of his Tax Endorsed Local Providers (ELPs)—certified professionals with the heart of a teacher. They’ll save you time, money and stress this tax season.
Contact your Tax ELP now!