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The Pros and Cons of Self-Filing Taxes vs. Hiring a Tax Preparer

4 Mins read

It’s that time of year again when we all have to consider our taxes. While some of us love tackling our taxes, others prefer to hand them over to a professional.

It’s a tough call to make, with each option having its pros and cons. But the good news is, by weighing the factors and considering your personal situation, you can make an informed decision on whether to pay someone to do your taxes or do it yourself.

In this article, we’ll explore both options in more detail so you can determine what’s best for you. So, let’s dive in!

Why People Choose to Pay Someone to Do Their Taxes

When it comes to preparing and filing taxes, individuals can handle the task themselves or pay a professional to do it for them. Each option has advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately comes down to an individual’s specific circumstances and priorities. 

Let’s go through the reasons some individuals choose to pay someone to handle their taxes, highlighting the benefits and drawbacks of this approach.

Complexity

For individuals with complex financial situations, such as multiple sources of income, investments, or small business ownership, understanding the tax code and ensuring compliance can be challenging. 

In these cases, the expertise of a tax professional, such as an IRS agent, CPA, enrolled agent, or tax attorney can be invaluable. These individuals have received specialized training and have extensive knowledge of the tax code, so they can help maximize deductions and credits.

Time-saving

Preparing and filing taxes can be time-consuming, particularly for those who need to be better versed in the tax code. By hiring a professional, individuals can save significant time and effort, as the tax professional will handle all necessary paperwork and ensure that everything is filed correctly and on time.

Expertise

As previously mentioned, tax professionals possess a high level of knowledge in their field and can provide valuable help navigating complex financial situations. They are equipped to handle a wide range of tax-related issues and can help ensure that an individual complies with all relevant regulations.

Peace of mind

For some individuals, the peace of mind that comes with hiring a professional is a key factor in their decision-making process. By entrusting their taxes to a qualified individual, they can rest assured that their taxes are in expert hands and that they will be safe from making a mistake that could lead to issues with the IRS.

Cost-effectiveness

Sometimes, paying a professional to handle one’s taxes can result in greater cost-effectiveness in the long run. They’re equipped to identify all relevant deductions and credits. They can help individuals pay the minimum amount of taxes required by law.

Hiring someone to do your taxes can be an excellent option for those who find taxes too complex, need to save time, want peace of mind, or want to ensure they’re paying the minimum amount of taxes possible. Of course, everyone’s circumstances are different, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and determine what’s best for you.

Why Do Your Own Taxes Rather Than Pay Someone Else to Do It?

Tax preparation is an annual task that every taxpayer must undertake to ensure compliance with tax laws and regulations. Historically, many taxpayers have relied on tax professionals to handle this task. 

However, in recent years, the trend has shifted towards do-it-yourself (DIY) tax preparation. This shift is attributed to various reasons, including cost, control, learning experience, convenience, privacy, and a sense of accomplishment.

Let’s explore why taxpayers opt to prepare their taxes themselves instead of paying someone else.

Cost

One of the most significant advantages of DIY tax preparation is cost savings. Tax software is readily available and much more affordable than hiring a professional tax preparer. 

The average cost of tax preparation software is around $50 more or less, whereas a professional tax preparer or a typical accounting firm can charge anywhere from $150 or more to file Form 1040. 

If your tax situation is straightforward, you may save considerable money by doing your own taxes.

Control

When you do your taxes, you completely control the process. You can review each step and ensure that all the information is accurate. You can also change your tax return if you need corrections or need to make updates. This control level is impossible when you hire someone else to do your taxes.

Learning Experience

Doing your own taxes can also be a great learning experience. You can better understand the tax code and how it affects your financial situation

You will also learn about tax deductions and credits that may apply to your situation. This knowledge can help you make better financial decisions in the future.

Convenience

DIY tax preparation is convenient because you can do it from the comfort of your own home. You don’t need to make an appointment with a tax preparer or travel to their office. You can complete your taxes at your own pace and on your schedule.

Privacy

Doing your own taxes also gives you complete control over your personal and financial information. You don’t have to worry about someone else handling sensitive information or making mistakes that could cause problems with the IRS.

Sense of Accomplishment

Finally, there is a sense of accomplishment that comes with doing your own taxes. You can feel proud of your work and be confident in the accuracy of your tax return.

DIY tax preparation is an excellent option for individuals who want to save money, control their tax situation, and better understand the tax code. 

While it may not be for everyone, the benefits can be substantial for those willing to invest the time and effort.

Takeaways

When it comes to taxes, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Whether you do your taxes or pay someone to take care of them for you will depend on your circumstances and priorities. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of both approaches and determine which option makes the most sense for you. 

If you decide to do your own taxes, H&R Block can provide you with free e-file options so that you can submit your returns electronically. Ultimately, the choice is yours, so make sure you make an informed decision.

Jennifer R. Dawson has been a financial analyst and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of financial topics. She is 32 and hails from Boston with an interest and dedication to wealth management, she continues to specifically target subjects related to investment and tax education. In her free time, she loves hiking and volunteering at animal shelters.

Preparer stock image by fizkes/Shutterstock

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