Most of us filed our first tax return when we were teenagers and the entire operation — copying a single number from a W-2 and entering it into the right box on the 1040EZ — took 23 minutes and a sharp No. 2 pencil. But there comes a time in every taxpayer's life we ask the anxiety-ridden question: "Am I making a huge mistake by doing my own taxes?"
As life grows more complicated, so do our finances. You get married, have a kid, buy a house, take on a side job, invest for retirement — all of these life events have tax implications, and overlooking them could be very costly.
- Pro: Increases your odds of getting a refund
- Con: It costs more money — around $270 for a standard 1040; $420 for business schedules E or C
- Pro: Decreases your chance of an IRS audit and penalties
- Con: It puts your financial fate in the hands of a stranger
- Pro: A tax pro can offer advice on how to lower your tax exposure for next year
- Con: Not all tax advisers are created equal. Can you afford a good one?