It’s that time of year again! Thousands of people will be filling out last minute paperwork in an attempt to file their taxes on time. Tax software developers take full advantage of tax panic by introducing new software, creating catchy advertisements, and providing a product that you think you can’t live without. The question is: is tax software all it’s cracked up to be?
Who Needs Tax Software
Some people live simple lives. A simple life often translates into a simple tax form. If you don’t have a million things to deduct, you aren’t running a business, and you don’t owe millions of dollars, you may not need tax software. Sure, tax software makes filing easier, but if filing is already easy for you, there’s little sense in coughing up more than $50 to spend on tax software.
On the flip side, you may need tax software if your life is chaotic. Running a business, aiming for many deductions, and filing cross-borders are all cause for tax software. Then again, sometimes tax software may not be enough. Keep in mind that these programs were developed for standard tax returns, and even the best programs lack when it comes to tricks of the tax trade.
What to Look For
The biggest problem with tax software is that tax laws are always changing. This means that an updated version of a tax program is vital. Otherwise, you could face some hefty fines and penalties. Thus, the number one thing to look for is software that can be updated regularly. You may have to pay for these updates, but you don’t want to use outdated tax software.
Another important factor is user-friendliness. Taxes are confusing. You don’t need to use a program that makes this process harder. Believe it or not, some tax software simply complicates matters. Read reviews before you try any tax software, and take advantage of free trial offers.
Check and Check Again
If you do decide to use tax software, take every precaution to ensure that your taxes will be filed correctly. Double-check everything that you’ve added to a tax form. Run numbers through your system twice. Make sure that all details are in order. Nothing catches the tax man’s attention faster than a form that has been filed incorrectly.
When to Hire an Accountant
Let’s be honest, no software can replace an accountant. These professionals work tirelessly to find you ways to save your money. While software may be updated regularly, a good accountant should keep abreast of all new tax information daily. If you find yourself faced with piles of paper, too many receipts to count, and a business that requires expert handling, don’t opt for tax software. Tax programs are great for simple filings, but these programs lack when it comes to accountant expertise.