Preparing Taxes – Doing it Online vs. Hiring a Professional

Tonight’s guest post is contributed by Omar Adams. He writes on the topic of online accounting degrees. He welcomes your comments at his email address,

Preparing Taxes – Doing it Online vs. Hiring a Professional

It’s an annual event, one you probably hate, regardless of how your tax rate varies by the country in which you live. Of course, you probably hate the exercise not because you have to pay out money to the government, but because you need to put a lot of information and records into order.

Preparing your taxes is a painful procedure – it takes up more than a few hours of your time. It requires an ordered thought process and a knowledge of tax laws and loopholes that you can legally exploit, and it is never easy to keep track of all your records and get them all sorted out and ready to process.

It is for these reasons that most people hesitate to do their own taxes, but then, they’re also wary of hiring an accountant to help them out. How do you decide which way is better when it comes to filing your returns – online or through a professional?

Hiring an accountant could cost you money, but that’s just about the only downside to this method. When you have help from a professional, all you have to do is provide them with all your records and account statements. They help you sort them out, provide you with legal advice, inform you about any kind of deduction you’re eligible for, and most important of all, get the work done in no time at all. Also, you’re eligible for a deduction on the fee you pay your accountant or professional tax preparer.

If you’re a busy professional, it’s best you hire someone whose regular job is to help people prepare their taxes. Even if your returns are simple, getting a professional to do them for you saves you both effort and time, both of which could be put to better and more effective use at your job or business. If your returns are complicated and you run a business or own depreciating and/or appreciating assets, it’s advisable to at least seek the advice of a professional even if you prefer to do your taxes on your own.

If your returns are relatively uncomplicated, you could do them online with some help from reliable sources. Various websites offer a comprehensive list of all the information and records you’ll need while others provide advice on how to go about the task. You save yourself a few hundred dollars, and you have the satisfaction of doing your taxes all by yourself.

Some people have their own accountants while others prefer to wing it year by year – if they have time on their hands and the inclination to do their own taxes, they file them online; if not, they look around for a qualified professional and get them to do the honors. Either way, it’s your choice based on your situation.

How about you all? Do you all do your taxes online, or do you obtain the help of a tax professional? Why did you choose the method you decided upon?

What online applications do you use to help file your taxes online? 

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  1. I am an accountant, but not particularly experienced with individual tax returns. I'll do my return with a free online service as long as I just have my salary and then some 1099's and self employment income. I wouldn't take on doing say, my sister's return – she has all kinds of fun things like student loans being paid on her behalf as long as she works as a public defender, and she just bought a house….

    But at work I've done returns for a guy who files in 14 states, owns 4 houses, and is a partner in 4 partnerships. The difference is having someone more experienced to review my work, of course!
    My recent post September cash flow update

    • Wow! Filing in 14 states?! In that case, the saying from the rap song, “Mo' money mo' problems,” might be accurate! haha
      My recent post Contents and Building Insurance – Are These Coverage Types Necessary and What Do They Include?

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