Filing taxes on your own or with an accountant? Tax expert weighs both options

Posted at 1:57 PM, Mar 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-06 22:34:50-05

NORFOLK, Va. - There are six more weeks until April 15, the deadline to file your taxes for the 2020 tax year.

You may have already done them, but for those who haven't, you might be asking yourself how you'll file -- virtually with tax software, on your own or with an accountant?

"You know, there are different pros and cons for tax filing by using professional tax preparers or DIY (do-it-yourself),” Xiaoli Yuan, a business and economics professor at Elizabeth City State University, said.

Yuan is also a tax expert. He said tax software is a viable option for those who are looking to save money and only have W-2 forms.

"If you are confident to file your taxes, consider using the software or purchase software,” Yuan advised.

Several tax-filing software programs such as H&R Block and Turbotax offer free filings for state and federal taxes with restrictions. The programs may charge you additional fees for extra features that go beyond the W-2 filing or if you want to be paired with an accountant online.

If you do not feel comfortable filing taxes on your own and do not mind paying an expert to help you, Yuan said that's when you should opt for an expert.

"There's no shame in any of us hiring a professional tax consultant,” Yuan said. "A registered preparer may find deductions or credits that may have otherwise been missed."

He added an accountant can also help you in the event you get audited by the Internal Revenue Service. He said an accountant can also help save you time.

If you do not file by April 15, you could face penalties and other fees. April 15 is also the deadline to file for an extension, giving you between four to six extra months to file.