As 2015 comes to an end and we begin preparing for a new year, there is one thing that many of us grudgingly accept is just around the corner: tax season.
Rounding up all of the necessary information to complete the tax process can seem like a daunting task. But for more and more Americans gathering their information is just the first step because they are now choosing to file their taxes online without hiring an accountant.
Of these individuals and small business owners that decide to file their taxes online by themselves, nearly 30 percent use online tax preparation software of some sort or another. The choice to file your own taxes online can have some distinctive advantages. However, it is essential to take the time to weigh up all the advantages and disadvantages before opting out of hiring a tax professional and choosing to prepare your own taxes online
Save Money: Hiring a tax professional to complete your taxes can be surprisingly expensive, especially when there are many free online tax completion options. Programs such as these will send documents directly to the IRS after they have been completed, which can make everything seem cheaper and easier. However, it is important to be aware that certain software have unexpected fees or charge for things such as state returns.
Learn about Tax Code: Another advantage to filing your taxes online without the help of a tax professional is the ability to learn a lot more about our complex tax code. Gaining these types of insights can allow you to take advantage of a number of tax deductions and loopholes that you may qualify for.
Furthermore, lodging your own taxes online can give you a much closer look into your finances and ultimately help you to make better financial decisions for the future.
Speed and Simplicity: If your taxes are relatively simple, it can take less than an hour to file after you’ve gathered all of the right documentation. Taxes are sent immediately to the IRS after the form is submitted allowing for rapid processing to take place. It is possible to get your refund in as little as two weeks after filing, which can make the entire tax process seem incredibly simple and easy.
Tax Complexity: The US tax system is notoriously complex and if your taxes are anything but simple doing them online can get difficult rapidly. Often times we are unaware of the tax deductions you cannot claim as small business owners and individuals. Claiming these types of deductions or failing to claim ones you do qualify for can be both costly and time consuming.
Answering Questions: If you do come across any complex problems or questions while filing your taxes online it can be difficult to find the answers you need and the risk for errors may be high. Many of the online tax software help buttons are limited to very broad situations that can leave you scratching your head about whether or not you actually do qualify for specific deductions. Perhaps the greatest benefit of hiring a tax professional is that they are able to help you with any questions that you might have at any point during the filing process.
Personal Time: Additionally, if these complexities come up, you may not be spending only an hour working on taxes. In 2010 the IRS estimated that small business owners that were working to file their own taxes online spent approximately 32 hours on them before they were complete. If your understanding of the tax system is extremely basic and you do not have someone more knowledgeable to help, working through your tax can become a serious time commitment.