Do you look forward to your annual tax-filing duties?

The truth is that Americans universally dread the task. Just how much anxiety it evokes might depend on how you decide to complete your filing responsibilities.

You basically have two choices: Do your taxes yourself or turn the task over to a professional. But even if you do the latter, you still have to do most of the prep work yourself.

Each option requires some additional considerations.

Before you start, ask yourself some important questions:


Ways to self-file
  • Are you generally familiar with your tax situation? For example, do you know your filing status, understand what tax breaks (credits and deductions) you are eligible to claim and follow tax law changes enough to know what changes might affect you?
  • Are you comfortable doing research if you encounter a tax question with which you’re not familiar?
  • Are you organized? Do you keep good records to help you complete the forms?
  • Do you prefer that no one else see your personal and financial details?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, doing your taxes yourself shouldn’t be too much of a problem.


Many taxpayers, however, decide they prefer professional tax help to complete their returns. This could be the route for you if:

Why you might want a tax pro
  • You are intimidated by the whole tax-filing process.
  • You don’t want to devote the time necessary to prepare your return.
  • You’ve had a major change in your life that’s going to make filing more complex this year.
  • You believe that by hiring a tax pro, you’ll save more than enough on your tax bill to cover the cost.