Advantages and Disadvantages of Filing your Own Taxes

The phrase “tax season” might send a shiver down your spine, and deadlines are looming. The IRS will start accepting income tax returns in late January, and the Georgia Department of Revenue will ask residents to file their taxes soon after. You can always hire a certified public account (CPA), but is it worth it? In this guide, learn the pros and cons of DIY taxes. 

Pros of DIY Taxes

Filing (and paying) taxes yourself is cheaper than hiring a CPA, which costs, on average, $273 for an itemized Form 1040 and Georgia state tax return. There are other benefits, too. DIY taxes help you become more aware of your financial liabilities, and you can learn more about the money you make every month — and how much of it goes to the authorities. Plus, mobile apps like TurboTax automate much of the hard work of filing a simple tax return. 

Cons of DIY Taxes

There are times you might want to hire a CPA, however. If your tax situation is particularly complex, a professional accountant can lighten the load and do everything for you. Your CPA can also help you claim any tax deductions or credits you might not know about. Working with someone else will also free up the time it takes to prepare a return. That’s 13 hours, according to the IRS. Plus, that average cost of $273 might not seem so bad if the thought of making a mistake on your return — and possibly receiving a penalty — terrifies you. 

The choice is yours. If you have a simple enough tax situation, doing it yourself can save you nearly a few hundred dollars. If you have more complicated tax matters, time constraints, or a fear of making mistakes, hire a professional CPA to do the job.

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