Should You Hire a Tax Preparer Or Do It Yourself?   

Taxpayers face a decision. Is it worth the expense to hire a tax preparer to do your tax return? Or should you use tax software and do it yourself?


A knowledgeable tax professional might charge $500 or more to prepare your return, depending on its complexity. Chain tax preparers, such as H&R Block, might charge somewhat less, but provide less quality and are known for imposing redundant and unnecessary form charges to increase their fees.

This firm never charges these amounts. We also offer a no cost review of your return and will provide you a fixed price guarantee if you take advantage of our no cost review prior to filing season.

Software, such as TurboTax, TaxACT and TaxCut, have various versions ranging in price from $12.95 to $79.95 or more depending on your tax needs. TurboTax and TaxACT also have free versions available—many of our clients have learned the hard way, though, that "free" is anything but free. Thus, a program seems to save you money. The lower cost versions also usually leave something out, such as a state tax return, or make up the low initial with other charges such as an electronic filing charge. The FTC refers to such practices as "bait" and "switch".

 Such programs are fine for typical taxpayers with straightforward returns. For example, you might have nothing more than W-2 income from your employer, bank account interest income and other basic stuff.

However, taxpayers with more complex financial affairs probably will save more in taxes by using a tax preparer than it costs to hire one. This is particularly true if you own a business, rental property or invest.


Complex issues that might be better handled by a tax preparer and which you might save thousands in taxes with a knowledgeable preparer include: 

  • Capital gains
  • Sale of a residence
  • Rental property losses
  • Casualty losses
  • Employee business expenses
  • Medical costs incurred for a dependent parent
  • Margin loan interest
  • Investment advisory and other professional fees

                                  BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

If you have been in the habit of preparing your own return, one strategy to consider is to carefully organize your data—there is an organizer available on this web site to assist you in gathering and reviewing your information. Bring this preliminary information return in, on paper or on disk. This will save us time, allow us to focus on the issues not the data gathering and provide you with a sound opinion and very reasonably priced return.  

Once you entrust us with your return you also have the benefit of year round access and advice, fast responses to any inquiries and notices, and tax planning ideas from someone who knows you.

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