In exchange, taxpayers also get much greater assurance that their taxes have been properly prepared and submitted to the IRS and states. If the cost is the same, it’s more than a value. And the odds are, the professional will be able to see and know things that the designers of the software forgot.
“At the end of the day, you’ll get a higher quality product with much better detail and depth,” said Steven Phelan, a CPA in Oklahoma City. “I wouldn’t recommend a person do their own taxes just as I wouldn’t recommend someone do their own dental work. When you are not a professional, and you’re relying on your own expertise to keep you out of trouble, you’re inviting it in.”
For those with very simple tax situations who do still qualify for the free version of do-it-yourself tax software and don’t mind paying for the additional cost of the state preparation, the programs do offer a good value. As long as the taxpayers can avoid the add-on surcharges and fees.
Last Words of Advice
Whether a person does their own taxes online or using software, or has a professional help them, don’t fall for guarantees that promise a refund. (A promise of the “best/max refund possible” doesn’t cross that line, because if you’re not due a refund, you won’t get one.)
Lastly, if anyone promises a specific amount of refund before they’ve even talked about your tax information, or tells you they will charge based on a percentage of your refund … run, don’t walk, away from them. There's a good chance they're going to break the law, and they're going to pull you down with them.