It’s an annual passage and a sure sign that spring is approaching. It’s not longer days or warmer temperatures. It’s tax season and the all-important tax return filing deadline in mid April. And before you can even begin to think about the size of your return or the amount you owe, you’ve got to start by answering a simple question:
Who will file your taxes?
Will you do it yourself? Or hire someone to do it for you? There are some good arguments for both sides:
Doing It Yourself
The good news is that with the advent of technology, there are now a lot of helpful programs on the market to simplify tax filing and handle the calculations for you. For example, in their Super Bowl ad, Turbo Tax® demonstrated just how easy it is to answer tax questions and filing.
Call on the Experts
In their advertising campaign, “Get Your Billion Back,” tax preparer H & R Block shows another side. They claim that Americans who filed their taxes last year left behind more than a billion dollars!
Choosing the Best Option for You
So which has convinced you more? If you’re not sure, which option is best for you, start by asking these key questions:
Are you willing to spend the time? According to MSN Money, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimated that the average taxpayer in 2012 needed to spend 22 hours to file their 2011 taxes. If the taxpayer owned a business or rental property, that could be as much as 32 hours. Do you have that kind of time to file?
Are you willing to spend the money? If you don’t have the time, do you have the money to hire someone? Fees for tax preparers vary depending on the type you use. If you choose a tax preparation company, you could spend between $50 – $100. If you chose an accountant or CPA, you would spend significantly more. Your decision would depend on the complexity of your taxes and the expertise you need. With federal tax codes often changing and becoming more complex, you may want the expertise of a professional.
Do Your Homework; Not Just the Math
Whether you choose to do your own taxes or to hire a professional, be sure to evaluate your needs, understand all your options, and to make the best decision based on your situation. After all, the last thing you want to do is leave money on the table or overpay. That would be taxing.