With the development of technology over the past decade, it seems as if everything can be done on computers—and taxes are no exception. For many, the days of going down to the local tax professional to find out how to get the most deductions possible and how to file all documents properly are long gone. Today, more people are using tax software like Turbo Tax to complete their taxes, consequently, saving time and money.
There are a great number of benefits to using tax software programs. First, you don't have to spend time gathering the various forms you may need because the software makes all forms available. Secondly, because the information you enter is digital, it is easy and clean to revise and edit data without having to erase or scratch out text, making the form messy and hard to read. Math mistakes are also greatly eliminated using tax software since many of the calculations are built into the program. When you enter values, you can be confident that all calculations are correct. While calculators make it relatively easy to do calculations when filling out paper forms, there is always the chance that you may make a mistake. Programs like TurboTax and TaxCut have been heavily tested so you can be 99.9% sure that there will be no calculation mistakes.
Another great advantage of tax software is that it gives you the freedom to experiment and play around with numbers to see what the end result will be. Hence, you can get an accurate estimation of what your taxes will be next year if you are expecting a change in salary, an increase in the number of dependents, or just about anything else that can affect your taxes.
On the other hand, for those who need a person to talk to for any questions they may have, tax software is probably not a good idea. Despite computer advancement, it can be time consuming and difficult to get exact answers to the questions you may have. However, TaxCut, the tax software from H&R Block, offers one-on-one telephone service or e-mail consultation with a tax professional for an additional fee that will allow you to get your needs met at a lower price rather than having the tax professional take care of the entire process. The question can sometimes be an issue of trust as well. Some trust technology more than others and would be willing to file using software without worrying about how the program works, while others, may be intimidated by the newer systems and rather speaking with an accountant or tax preparer. Also, no matter how many times a specific program is tested, there can always be some bug that affects results and you don't want any information on your tax forms to be inaccurate.
Personally, the ease of tax software combined with the support of a tax professional, if needed, is the best combination and the one I would most likely go with.