Each year millions of Americans have their taxes prepared by a professional tax preparer. Having tax returned professionally prepared reduces the likelihood of errors being reported on a tax return; however, professional tax preparation is often expensive. For this reason there are a large number of individuals who are making the decision to file their own federal and state tax returns. While it is possible to file tax returns the traditional way with paper tax forms there are now many taxpayers who are relying on tax preparation software to quickly and accurately prepare and file their taxes. Tax software programs have increased in popularity over the past few years; however, like many other software programs tax software programs have advantages and disadvantages.
Before learning about the different advantages and disadvantages of tax software it is important that taxpayers learn the different types of software programs that are available. There are a number of popular tax software programs that include Turbo Tax, TaxCut, TaxAct, and more. Each of these tax software programs are likely to offer multiple tax software versions. Many tax software programs come in a standard version, a deluxe version, or a premium version. Each brand of a tax software program may include different features under each tax version; however, many of the tax software programs operate in the same way. Standard or basic versions are likely to only include federal income tax return forms. Deluxe and premium software versions are likely to include both federal and state income tax forms. Premium tax software versions are likely to include additional help in finding tax credits and deductions.
One of the main advantages of using a tax software program is that they are fairly easy and quick to use. Tax software programs are usually step-by-step; therefore, many individuals can complete a tax return faster than on traditional paper and in less than half of time. Many taxpayers who use tax software prefer the software versions that offer both state and federal tax forms. The majority of software programs will transfer the information from a federal return over to a state tax return. This not only saves time, but it also guarantees that the information found on a state tax return is accurate.
Another advantage to using a tax preparation software program is that is costs less than hiring the services of a tax professional. Tax preparation fees generally depend on where the taxes are being prepared at and how many tax forms need to be filled out and how complicated they are. The majority of individuals end up paying one hundred dollars or more to have their taxes professional prepared. The price of a tax preparation software program can range from free all the way up to sixty dollars or more.
In the past few years e-filing has become popular. E-filing allows a tax return to be received and processed quicker which often results in taxpayers getting their tax refunds sooner. Even though e-filing has dramatically increased in popularity there are still a number of individuals who do not feel comfortable e-fling their taxes. These taxpayers are often worried about their personal information being transmitted over the internet. All tax software programs give users the options of e-filing their federal and state tax forms or printing them out.
While e-filing tax returns may be convenient there are many tax software programs that charge an additional e-filing fee. Taxpayers are encouraged to fully read the box of a tax software program or read the description of the software program online. It is not uncommon for many taxpayers to not realize that they will be charged an additional fee for e-filing. There are some tax preparation software programs that only mention the e-filing fee in the fine print of their product description. Even with the additional fee it is still likely that the majority of tax software programs are cheaper than having a tax return professionally filed. In addition to e-filing fees, taxpayers are encouraged to be on the lookout for any other hidden fees because there are likely to be some with many tax software programs.
With many tax software programs guaranteeing their work it is evident that tax software programs are easy to use and accurate. With mathematical checks and easy print offs for personal records it is obvious that there are many advantages to using a tax software program. Taxpayers are encouraged to weigh the above mentioned advantages and disadvantages of tax software programs and then make an informed decision on how their tax returns should be prepared and filed.
Written by Gray Rollins