Tax season is upon us and if you are contemplating doing your taxes to save money, think again. Doing your own taxes may not save you money, especially if you don’t know the difference between a tax credit and a tax deduction. Here’s how to find out if you should be doing you taxes or paying someone else to do them for you.
Consider this: If the time and money you spend doing your taxes costs more than hiring a professional, then pay up. If it’s less, you still have to think of the big picture before you sit down with pen and paper in hand to try and lower your taxes.
Let’s say you do your taxes and something goes wrong like your math doesn’t add up or you forget to include information. Can you afford to miss a day off of work to get audited by the IRS?
Let’s assume you get paid $8.25 an hour, or $66 a day. Missing two days of work at this salary costs $132. If you would’ve had a professional do your taxes, it would of cost you $30 to file your 1040-EZ form. You would have saved $102.
Before deciding what to do, sit down and consider whether you can afford not to pay a tax professional. If the cost of paying a professional does not outweigh the savings try tax software you can use at home that includes benefits like a professional tax reviewer looking at your returns before they are sent off to the IRS. Here are three to consider:
1. TurboTax – You have five options with TurboTax. The Deluxe, Premiere and Business options cost $29.95 to $129.95. The free option is the 1040EZ & Simple Tax Returns, which offers a guarantee on accurate calculations and maximum return. The price for filing your state tax return depends on the state you live. You also have access to TurboTax’s free audit support center.
2. H&R Block at home – You have five options including Basic, Deluxe, Premium, and Premium and Business. Prices range from $15.96 to $63.96. The Premium and Business software only works on Windows and the others are compatible with both Windows and Macs. Tech support is available via e-mail, phone and live chat.
3. TaxAct – The prices for this software range from free to $17.95. Like all the other software, you’ll be charged extra for filing your state tax return depending on where you live. It offers unlimited live tax support, but you’ll be charged a one time fee of $7.95. The service does not offer a professional tax review, like TurboTax and H&R Block. This means you’ll be the only looking at your taxes and no one else is going to check them to make sure you’ve done everything right.
However you file, remember to request your refund be deposited electronically into your account for the fastest payout.