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Online or Tax Pro: Which Is Right for You?

Can you believe it’s already a new year? Before you know it, April 15 will be here, and you’ll be scrambling to meet the tax-filing deadline. It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Not quite.

We can all agree that doing taxes is a pain. But no matter how long you wait, you still have to file them.

If you don’t want to do your taxes yourself—and we don’t blame you if you don’t—you could consider teaming up with a tax pro. But is that the right choice for you or are you better off just filing online yourself? It really comes down to you and your personal situation.

Here are some helpful guidelines to make the choice a little easier.

When It Makes Sense to File Online

When making big financial decisions, we’re all about using a professional. It’s smart to get advice from an expert. But there are also times when filing your taxes with online software just makes sense.

Do you really need a tax pro if you have a basic W-2 and plan on taking the standard deduction? Probably not.

Taxes shouldn't be this complicated. Let us help.

If you have a simple financial situation and you’re not stressed about your taxes, filing on your own is a good option. You can use online tax software with confidence.

Online tax prep sites do a good job of walking you through the process, but remember you’ll need to clear time beforehand to gather your paperwork.

If you’re nodding your head thinking, Yep, this is me, we’ve got some resources to help you knock out your taxes and move on with your year. Download our personal filing checklist to guide you through the documents you’ll need to file on your own. 

When It Make Sense to Use a Tax Pro

Sometimes your taxes can go from simple to complicated in the blink of an eye. You should strongly consider using a tax pro if you:

  • Had major life changes in the past year (we’re talking getting married, having kids, moving to a new house or a new state, a promotion, or losing a loved one)

  • Own or sold a business

  • Have multiple sources of income (think freelance work or if you’re making money off investments or real estate)

  • Plan to itemize your deductions (unless you’re super confident about deductions)

All these scenarios make your taxes a lot trickier, which can cause you to make costly mistakes if you take them on solo.

You may have other reasons for considering a tax pro. Maybe you’re still wrapping your head around last year’s tax changes and know you’d have more peace of mind with a pro. Or maybe you could file your taxes on your own, but you just don’t want the hassle. Do what works for you! Sometimes it just makes sense to get the advice of a professional. It is their day job after all.

Luckily, we’ve done the legwork of vetting hundreds of tax professionals across the country to find qualified tax pros for you. Connect with a tax Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) today and take the first step to getting your questions answered and your taxes done right!

Find your pro!

Still Not Sure? Take Our Quiz!

If you’re still not quite sure whether you should file online or talk to a pro, look no further than our tax quiz. Just answer a few general questions about your 2020 tax situation and we’ll point you in the right direction!

Whether you’re self-filing or finding a pro, you can conquer your taxes and leave the filing worries and stress in the 2010s.

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners.

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Tax Pro or File Your Own?

Take the Quiz

Tax Pro or File Your Own?

Use this free quiz to help you decide which tax filing method is right for you.
Take the Quiz

Tax Pro or File Your Own?

Use this free quiz to help you decide which tax filing method is right for you.
Take the Quiz