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Tax Software Vs. Tax Professional

Using Tax Software

Tax software is any computer program, such as Intuit's TurboTax and H&R Block at Home, that helps taxpayers go through their earnings and complete their tax filing.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Software

One advantage of tax software is that is much cheaper than hiring a professional, and gives filers more peace of mind that they followed the rules and did everything correctly than if they simply did it alone on paper. A disadvantage is that filers that live in one state but work in another will have to buy multiple programs, and these may not be able to handle complex returns.

Hiring a Tax Professional

A tax professional is an accountant or other financial planner that takes a person's tax information and prepares their filing for them.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Tax Professionals

A tax professional will be able to take nearly all the burden off the tax payer by preparing the statement and certifying that it is correct. Some chains of tax preparers also offer instant rebates. The downside is that a tax professional will charge a fee that will likely be higher than the cost of tax software.

Choosing a Method

Tax software may be best for people who want step-by-step instructions, but feel confident they can complete the task themselves. A tax preparer may be best for people with very complex returns--such as people filing in multiple states or those with many deductions.

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