A comparison between tax software and consulting with a professional

With the April deadline quickly approaching, individuals and families will likely find themselves scrambling to complete their tax returns. Paying taxes is a requirement of every individual, and while the task does take some time to complete, you can take solace knowing a majority of individuals end up receiving a tax return of a few thousand dollars.

Luckily, there are many ways to complete your taxes, due in part to the rise of software and mobile applications that enable you to file your returns. Likewise, you can still see a professional if you feel more comfortable with that route.

But if you're unsure which option to choose, keep the following similarities and differences in mind.

Tax software
Completing your taxes from the comforts of home offers a lot of benefits, with the first being just that: You're able to finish your taxes in one weekend or less. You will still need to gather your W-2s and other important financial forms, but software such as TurboTax and H&R Block offers step-by-step guidance to ensure you receive the maximum amount of deductions.

Once you're finished, you will likely have to pay a small fee to file, but that's it. Sit back, relax and wait for the refund to come to your bank account.

Even if you have more financial assets, such as stocks, mutual bonds, a 401(k) and an Individual Retirement Account, you can still use software. You'll just have to keep your records organized to make the filing process easier.

Finally, the most popular tax services available online are free. You'll just have to create an account before you get started.

Taxes and money.

You can either file your own taxes or have a professional complete them.

Tax professional
If you have a more complicated life, you may find yourself better off having a professional accountant completing your taxes. Their programs tend to be far more sophisticated and can handle even the most confusing of financial situations.

More so, however, is the ability to develop a relationship with your accountant. You will be able to get to know him or her throughout the year and can always ask questions. This relationship can help the accountant get to know you better, and as a result, assist you in making reasonable financial decisions.

As regular individuals, U.S. News & World Report noted, tax professionals do this work for a living, so it's their job to spot any irregularities while helping anyway possible.

Truth be told, you can't go wrong with either option when filing your taxes. But if you value the year-round convenience of having an expert's advice available as a resource, then perhaps consulting a professional is your best option. 

For more information about smart ways to manage your finances, contact Landmark Bank.

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