Should we use a tax preparation professional or an online tax filing program?
My spouse and I are filing our taxes for 2017 and we do not have complex taxes. However, they do involve a Form 1099-MISC and a Form 1095-A. We own a home. Should we use a tax preparation professional or an online tax filing program?
While everyone's situation poses their own unique complications, tax preparation software has become very intuitive over the years. Even the more complex scenarios can be handled through most leading applications. If what you've mentioned is the extent of your tax complications (and you are comfortable with a computer), I would think you would be perfectly fine utilizing an online tax filing program. Programs such as TurboTax will guide you through every detail of your return, answering any question you may have as you go. I believe you'll likely be pleasantly surprised with the experience.
Best of luck!
For a simple tax preparation, you may be able to handle it on your own. However, with a professional’s help, you may be able to find additional deductions or credits. For example, I was able to find the Saver’s credit for my client, who made the IRA contributions of the year. Instead of paying the tax, she actually got the refund. I was interviewed by Chicago Tribune’s for that. Here’s the link, “Saver's credit helps low-income taxpayers save for retirement ,“http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-savers-credit-taxes-marksjarvis-0313-biz-20160311-column.html. Enjoy!
Should use something with 5 days left to file haha. In all seriousness this is a preference point. I prefer using a CPA as they are fairly inexpensive (I'd say $300-$500 for what you are looking for). That said you could save money and do it cheaper by doing yourself. I just simply prefer the ease and checks and balances knowing a professional is handling it. You likely will have to extend if you go to a CPA this far into the game for 2017 taxes which is worth considering. Any way that's my two cents on the topic hope it was helpful.
Although you may believe that your return could be simple, even simple returns can be complex. Answering the following questions may help better guide you to making a decision that you are most comfortable with;
- Have you previously filed your returns on your own or have you used a professional?
- If you filed previously on your own, has your situation changed that much to where you believe a professional would be better?
- Do you itemize or utilize the standard deduction?
- Put another way, do you have charitable deductions, mortgage interest, property taxes?
- Do you have children or dependents that you can claim childcare or educational expenses against?
- Do you incur significant medical costs that would qualify you for a deduction?
- Do you have the time to prepare your own return?
- Preparing even a simple return could take hours.
Working with a professional usually has the advantage of working with someone who has intimate knowledge of the tax code and can help get you the best return possible. Even more valuable is working with a professional who not only prepares your return but also does extensive tax planning with you. The downside is that a professional costs money which could be offset by advanced planning or getting deductions that you previously would not have filed for on your own.
If you do consider working with a tax professional, the National Association of Tax Professionals would be a great place to start to look for someone in your area to work with. Don't be afraid to meet and interview more than one person. Ideally, you would like work with someone for whom you could build a long-term partnership with.