You can file your federal taxes by yourself by downloading and printing the forms off the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, website and sending the return along with a check if you owe a payment. Another option is to fill out the forms online and submit the return electronically with a credit card payment. Relevant federal tax forms can be found at IRS.gov. State income tax forms are usually found on the state's official website. You can get an extension using form 4868.
There is no charge or fee for filing your own taxes. Doing so is a way to learn more about your financial situation as it forces you to track your transactions, earnings, and spending. Most people who file their own taxes have a simple tax situation, an unchanged tax situation, or a personal interest in the subject. Filing your own taxes for a simple or unchanged tax situation can literally take minutes if you have the right forms on hand.
For someone with a complicated situation or who is not confident about finances, a tax professional is a better option. Capable tax professionals can help in minimizing payments while ensuring deductions and refunds are maximized. Often, using a tax professional pays for itself.
Tax Software Vs a CPA: Which Is Right For You?
An intermediary option between filing your own taxes and hiring a tax professional is to purchase tax preparation software for federal and state returns. This combines the benefits of filing your own returns and a tax professional. With the software, you input your own information, enabling you to relive your financial history for the past year. It also works to ensure you are taking advantage of various deductions.