Tax Software vs Tax Pro: Which Is Right for You?

Like it or not, taxes are a part of everyday life. If you’re smart, you’re already making plans to avoid future headaches. But should you use tax software or a tax professional?

Dave always leans toward hiring a pro for anything important. By hiring the right professional to do an important job, you will save more time, money and stress than you would by trying to learn how to do it yourself. Tax software can save you a little money on the front end, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you.

Here are some situations that can help you decide which option is best for you.

You’re young, single, and don’t own a home.

Your tax return will probably be simple and straightforward. This is especially true if you plan to take the standard, no-questions-asked deduction.

Solution: Your return may be simple enough to choose software. However, the potential savings may not be enough to justify the risk of doing your taxes on your own.

Forms make you nervous.

If you’re not comfortable sorting through documents, typing in numbers, and proofreading your forms, then avoid all tax software.

Solution: Get a tax pro to give you peace of mind.

You have no idea what you’re doing.

Most people fall into this category. If you’ve tried to read the U.S. tax code, you probably got confused. It's so complicated that it can drive a Harvard graduate to fits of rage.

Solution: If you don’t want to spend days and weeks researching your deductions, then get a tax pro.