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Last Updated: May 20th, 2012 - 04:16:32 

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Five Reasons You Should Do Your Own Taxes
Mar 14, 2012, 14:39 PST

Tax season is upon us, and if recent trends are any indication, almost half --approximately 45 percent -- of all U.S. taxpayers will file their own returns this year. Among the most popular excuses for those who choose to pay a preparer instead: it’s too hard, I don’t have the time, and it will be cheaper in the long run to just hire someone to do it.

None of these are true, says Bill White, a certified public accountant and president of, a company that has offered IRS-approved tax preparation software since 1999. In fact, doing your own taxes can be easier, faster and less expensive than using a paid preparer.

“People don’t realize they’re going to have to take the time to gather all the information the tax preparer needs to do their taxes anyway, then that person will just plug the numbers into a computer program. They might as well do it themselves and save some money,” White says.

All you have to do to file online is log on to a site like, enter your personal information, and plug in numbers from your W-2 and other tax forms. After you pay a nominal fee – $7.95 for a federal return and $5.95 for a state return at -- the site will electronically forward your return to the Internal Revenue Service.

The fees are just a fraction of what you’d pay to hire a professional. A study conducted by Consumer Reports found that during the 2002 tax year, taxpayers paid professional preparers between $150 and $450 to do their returns.

“The cost of hiring someone to prepare your return can eat up most, if not all of your refund,” says White.

Convenience is also a factor. No need to travel across town or wait in a long line for the preparer. You can work on your taxes anytime, anywhere -- at the kitchen table, or in bed in your pajamas, White points out.

Time savings should also be considered. When visiting a preparer, it can take 45 minutes or longer -- not counting wait time in the office -- to get the return done.

“Most individual returns can be completed in half an hour or less using online tax preparation sites,” he says. “And since everything is done electronically, you can expect to receive your refund in just 8 to 14 days rather than having to wait weeks.” If you have to pay, you still have until tax deadline day -- April 15 -- to get your payment in.

But perhaps the biggest benefit of doing your taxes yourself is the crash-course you’ll get in personal finances. You become immersed in your own personal financial situation -- forced to think about savings and debt, and exposed to the benefits of tax-saving retirement measures like IRAs.

You don’t have to know the tax code to use online software -- it works using a simple interview format. Online software is updated each year and certified by the IRS and every state, so you will receive an accurate return with all pertinent deductions. Many sites offer customer service to help you if you get stuck. At, customers have access to a free live chat service.

“If you are smart enough to change your own oil, follow a recipe or buy a pair of shoes online, you are capable of doing your own taxes,” says White. “Online software has matured to the point where it can accommodate nearly everyone’s tax returns, no matter how complicated.”

For more information about the benefits of completing your 2004 tax return using the online software, visit
Courtesy of ARA Content

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