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Look, I get it! The thought of doing your own taxes is dreadful! I can see it playing out in your head:
“It’s too hard and complicated”
“I’ll mess it up and get audited”
“I’ll get a bigger refund if a professional does it”
My issue with all of these statements is that they are ALL WRONG! FALSE! FAKE NEWS!
Doing your taxes are not remotely as hard as most people think, especially with tax software like TurboTax or H&R Block at Home. And there are a bunch of benefits to doing them yourself! Just take a look below at some of those benefits and I think you’ll be changing your mind.
#1 You save money
The average cost of having your tax return professionally prepared in 2017 is $273 if you itemize your deductions or $176 if you don’t. By doing your taxes yourself and using software like TurboTax, you can save most, if not all of that money! Depending on the complexity of your tax situation, TurboTax may be FREE for you, or cost as low as $29.99, still saving you a couple hundred dollars!
And the more complicated your tax situation, the more money you will save! While the cost of a more robust tax software may go up $50-$75, a professional’s fees can go up HUNDREDS!
#2 Most tax returns are NOT complicated
Unless you have your own business, numerous investments and real estate, or have international assets or income, your tax return is probably something you can handle. So even if you have kids, a house, a 401k, and donate to your church, your tax return is NOT too complicated.
#3 Tax software like TurboTax does all the work for you
TurboTax holds your hand through every step of the process just like the best professional accountant. The software asks you yes or no questions to determine which deductions and credits you may be eligible for. And it even tells you the requirements and what you need to input.
When you’re done, TurboTax even checks for errors. They even guarantee that if their software calculates anything incorrectly, they will pay any IRS penalties and interest. You just need to make sure you answer the questions accurately and enter all your numbers correctly!
#4 Paid tax preparers make MORE errors than you do
Tax returns done by professionals have actually been found to have HIGHER rate of errors than self-prepared returns.
The Government Accountability Office found that tax returns prepared by professional preparers had errors 60% of the time versus 50% for self-prepared. In another audit by the GAO of 19 paid preparers, they found that 90% made mistakes!!!!
So you actually are better off doing it yourself!
#5 You are NOT more likely to be audited
If you’re worried about getting audited, using a professional won’t reduce your chances, as long as you are using a commercial software like TurboTax.
There are actually a ton of other factors that weigh much more heavily on your chances for an audit than whether you paid someone else to do it. Check out my post Top 8 Reasons the IRS Might Audit Your Taxes to find out more.
#6 Using a paid preparer will NOT guarantee a bigger refund or lower tax bill
Paid tax preparers will ask you the same questions that a tax software will, and that will determine which deductions and credits you are eligible for. And while tax software systematically goes through the essential questions, human error can cause a tax preparer to miss or forget to ask you something.
The only real difference in the results between a paid preparer and doing it yourself with TurboTax is if you or the preparer made an error entering a number or the paid preparer forgot to ask you a question. And based on the error rates I mentioned in #4, you’re less likely to have made a mistake.
#7 Doing taxes yourself saves time
When you’re doing your own taxes, you can work on it when it’s convenient for you, in the evening, on the weekend, or even at work. And you can even take a break, save it, and pick back up where you left off later.
If you go to places like H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt, you may need to take a sick day at work to wait in line for a few hours and sit with a preparer for a few more.
If you use a Certified Public Accountant, you’ll have to make an appointment during office hours, take another sick day from work, and then wait a week or 2 for them to complete your tax returns.
Even if you have to spend a few hours doing your tax return, at least it can be on your time and when it is convenient for YOU!
There is nothing to be fearful or apprehensive about doing your own taxes. TurboTax is super simple and easy to use and there are tons of helpful resources available all over the internet, including TurboTax’s website.
Think about what you can do with the $150 – $250 or MORE you can save doing it yourself!
Now, even after all this, you still feel like you prefer to have a professional do your taxes, I would love to help! I am a licensed Certified Public Accountant and work with many individuals, families and small businesses. Please check out our Tax and Finance Services here or email me at Rob@yourhealthyfamilycoach.com with any questions.
Please comment below and tell me what you think about doing your own taxes or let me know of any questions you have, advice you are looking for, or topics you are interested in reading about. Subscribe here to receive notifications of new posts and updates.