Filing tax forms

When you earn money, you must fill out tax forms, also called tax returns. Compare the pros and cons of hiring a professional vs. doing it yourself.

A professional accountant

Pros and cons — hire a professional or do it yourself

Hire a professional Do it yourself
Expert review and advice.
They may give you tax-saving suggestions.
Professional support in case of an audit. (This is when the taxing agency decides to carefully review your return to determine whether the information is true and accurate.)
Free; you don’t pay someone else.
You gain valuable financial experience.
You have total control over your tax information and paperwork. If you use tax software, it may help you reduce errors or even identify deductions, and filing electronically is instant. Check to see if you’re eligible for free software from the IRS.
You have to pay for this service.
During the busy tax season, you may have to wait your turn while your preparer takes care of other customers.
Even professionals can make mistakes, and in some states, there are no licensing laws for tax preparers. Ensure your preparer has a good business reputation.
You could make potentially costly mistakes.
You may not be aware of all the deductions (reductions in tax) to which you’re entitled.
Some tax software can be confusing and may cost as much as hiring a professional tax preparer.

Note: Consider preparing your taxes yourself and then taking them to a professional to look over, fix any errors, and finalize the forms. This approach could give you both good experience and peace of mind.

Read more information about filing income taxes.

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