How to Choose Between Tax Software and Accountant
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With tax day just around the corner, millions of Americans are gathering their documents and deciding whether to use an online tax filing service or certified public accountant. There's no definitive rule on which method of tax filing is best -- but our experts can weigh in on which option is best for you.
If you file online ...
Filing your taxes online is usually pretty cheap, says Kay Bell, tax expert for Bankrate.com.
"In this day and age we are always looking for bargains, and Tax Slayer, TurboTax and Tax Act are all three very affordable, and they do a great job walking you through the process," she says.If your filing is fairly straightforward -- if you are a single person with few investments -- a simple online filing may be right for you. Young people, for example, may have only their income from one job and student loan interest to deduct -- a very simple return. "Those straightforward returns are the bread and butter of online tax services. If you're comfortable using a computer and doing your taxes without any help from a professional, then it's a good option," she says. If you're thinking of filing online, ask yourself if your personal situation has changed a lot from the previous year. If you haven't gotten married, had a child, bought a house or cashed in investments, an online service can be perfect for you. Folks filing online can expect to spend around $50 for a federal filing. They also have the benefit of checking out IRS.gov for answers, says Trae Bodge, senior editor for coupon site RetailMeNot.
If you use an accountant ...The pros: If there's a problem with your return, your tax professional can argue for you with the IRS. Attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents have the authority to be your legal agent, and they can take care of any issues that may arise.
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