With tax season right around the corner, it is time to start thinking about how you want to get your taxes taken care of.

Taxes are always a pain, but there are many people who slog through them anyway, grimly crunching the numbers to get the right solution. On the other hand, there are other people who are willing to simply hand a load of papers off to a skilled professional, paying for the convenience of moving forward without worrying about the issue themselves. What should you do?

Hire a pro?

1. You have multiple income streams

The more income streams you have, the more complicated your taxes are going to be, and the more forms you’re going to have to fill out. The issue that many people run into is that after a certain point, their finances are so complicated that it’s very difficult to figure out what kind of forms they need to fill out and what kind of documentation is important. This is something that can make things very difficult for the layperson.

do your own taxes smurf

2. You’re pressed for time

If you’re like many people who have left it off until the last moment, you’ll find that having a tax accountant take care of your taxes for you can make a big difference. You need to hand everything over to them, but in general, a tax accountant can finish things a lot faster than you can.

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3. You want to get more money back

A good tax accountant can make sure that you get the kind of write-offs and tax credits that you need. They can point out things that you should be writing off, and they can show you where to put your money so that the taxes are lower. This tricky to do yourself unless you have training in this area.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][icon name=”share” class=””] Related: Claiming travel medical insurance on your taxes

do your own taxes for money

Do your own taxes?

1. Your taxes are relatively simple

If you’re a single person with a single income and no investments, you can generally do your own taxes inside of an hour. The same goes for if you’re married with two income streams and no children. The simpler your taxes are, the easier they’re to take care of on your own.

do your own taxes ellen

2. Nothing has changed

If nothing major has changed over the course of the year, you might as well do your taxes yourself. You can use your taxes from the previous year as a model. This is a good choice for people who can follow directions well and who are fairly independent minded. Even if your taxes are fairly involved, you can use your previous year’s forms as a model for what you need to look for. Doing this can save you a fair amount of cash.

Do your own taxes and keep it simple3. You don’t have the money to have them done

Let’s face it, having your taxes done costs money. In some cases, it can be surprisingly pricey. If you don’t want to give up the cash, consider doing the taxes yourself or going to a free service that will help you prepare them. Remember that if you are going to do this that you should allow yourself plenty of time to get your taxes done. Do not leave this task off until the last moment.

do your own taxes if you have no money

Final word
Tax season is always a bit stressful, but take the time to figure out what you need from your taxes and how you need to manage them. Having a plan before your taxes are due is important, and the more prepared you’re, the more smoothly it will go for you. Take a moment to decide what you are going to do this year!

Jason Kane is a professional blogger who focuses on personal finance and other money matters. He currently writes for Checkworks.com, a leading supplier of personal and business checks.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

16 Comments

  1. Virna on February 24, 2015 at 8:08 PM

    I pay our financial advisor to do our taxes. I know it’s cheaper to do it on our own but he doesn’t charge us a lot and he provides valuable info.

    • Barry Choi on February 25, 2015 at 12:49 AM

      Virna,

      There’s definitely value when using a pro. If they give you peace of mind, that’s probably worth the cost alone.

  2. Our Big Fat Wallet on February 24, 2015 at 11:24 PM

    I do taxes for a few but they’re much more complicated than most returns. For anyone who has a basic T4 and some RRSP contributions you can probably get away with simple tax software

    • Barry Choi on February 25, 2015 at 12:50 AM

      Our Big Fat Wallet,

      I started freelance in 2014 so I’m debating hiring a pro. What sucks is I only started saving receipts for write offs towards the end of the year.

  3. seattlegirluw on March 3, 2015 at 3:06 PM

    We have some rental income from the in-laws in the back, but that’s easy enough to deal with — especially with online depreciation calculators. But if we ever get a rental property, I’ll be handing it over to the CPA that does my S-corp taxes. I will say that the free software from TaxAct (and probably H&R Block, which I’ll try this year) guide you through a lot of the same questions a CPA would.

    And you don’t have to worry about the CPA’s creativity getting you in trouble down the road. One guy I knew was told my his CPA to claim the portion of his studio apartment that housed his computer and office stuff. Not allowed by the IRS. Unlikely he’d be audited, but if he were…

    • Barry Choi on March 3, 2015 at 4:50 PM

      Seattlegirluw,

      Great plan, and yes you need to find an accountant that is actually competent. I’ve heard stories where people use “pros” yet those prose filed the paperwork incorrectly or not at all.

  4. Aleksandra Sagan on March 4, 2015 at 9:58 AM

    Ha, number 3 for why you should do your own taxes made me laugh. But, it’s a great point. However, if you have really complicated taxes and don’t have the money to pay someone to get them done, this could be a tricky decision because it might mean that you lose out on getting the right credits/benefits and end up getting a smaller return or having to pay more in taxes.

    • Barry Choi on March 4, 2015 at 1:05 PM

      Alexsandra,

      That’s a good point. That situation would also apply to people who have not done their taxes for years because they were afraid of what they owed. It might be worth paying someone just to get your situation cleaned up.

  5. Tonya@Budget and the Beach on March 4, 2015 at 1:43 PM

    Oh man I remember the glorious days of doing EZ filing. One 10 minute phone call. Sigh…doing freelance taxes has got to be one of the worst things about freelancing. 🙁 I hire someone, but even still the organizing takes forever. Can you tell I’m whiny about it right now? 🙂

    • Barry Choi on March 4, 2015 at 10:08 PM

      Tonya,

      I just started freelancing in 2014 so I’m a little terrified about filing for the “first” time. I’ve been assured it’s quite easy but that doesn’t make me feel any better. I do have everything organized at least.

  6. Stephen @ How To Save Money on March 5, 2015 at 10:26 AM

    My taxes are certainly getting complicated as I have a lot of revenue streams. I tried to hire an accountant once, but I just wasn’t happy with the level of service I was getting. I would like to hire somebody who has some experience with online business, so if you know someone like that, let me know!

    • Barry Choi on March 5, 2015 at 3:50 PM

      Stephen,

      That seems to a reoccurring theme I’ve heard. Even if you do hire a pro, there’s no guarantee they’ll do a good job.

  7. Karen on March 7, 2015 at 8:49 PM

    I think I’ve only done my taxes once and filed them online. The rest of the time I’ve had them done by a professional. Just gathering those T4s and T5s is annoying. Lol. I suppose I could make the effort and do them myself to save the money, but I just can’t be bothered. There are so many other things that I’d rather be doing.

    Like how some people pay others to shovel snow or clean their house (I personally do all of that on my own) – I’d rather pay someone to do my taxes.

    • Barry Choi on March 7, 2015 at 10:32 PM

      Karen,

      Yes your time is valuable so I can see why some people prefer to pay for a pro. As a kid I used to love people who would pay me to shovel their snow. That was my first job!

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  9. jesse on September 23, 2019 at 8:21 PM

    if i won money on an online casino and plan to withdraw via bitcoin than exchange it back to CAD, do i have to pay taxes on it?

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