Sure, you could do your taxes on your own or hire someone to do them for you, but a hybrid option might be right for you: tax software that guides you through the process.
There are many different tax software packages to choose from.
Here are some questions to help you choose the tax prep software that’s right for you and your business.
How Complicated Are Your Taxes?
Your taxes might be relatively straightforward — a few deductions here, a few sources of income there — so you may feel relatively competent to do them with some relevant auto prompts from your software.
Or you might be a complete novice and want your software to ask a lot of questions — just like if you were sitting with a tax adviser — and offer advice to help you make the right decisions.
How Comfortable Are You With the Tax Process?
Even if you’re not certain of your tax process, some tax software comes with a helpline or online chat feature you can call if you get stuck, and others offer audit defense, which helps you prepare for an audit should one occur. Pro tip: If this interests you, consider buying the coverage now since you can’t buy it retroactively. Read some reviews to find the features that suit your needs.
Is Your Tax Software Current?
Tax laws change constantly, and keeping up with them is a full-time job — just ask any accounting professional. That’s why you want to make sure your tax software is updated for the current tax year. Before you buy, check that the software has the most recent changes handed down from the government to make sure you’re using the most current advice.
Do You Work From Home?
If your situation has changed, and you’re now running your business from a home office, you may qualify for a deduction. This might include office supplies, furniture, computers, and tech specifically used for your home office.
Consult with a professional tax adviser or visit the IRS website for details.
What Tax Features Are Important to You?
Preparing taxes can be tedious and, at times, confusing. But that’s where your tax software platform steps in and can help simplify the task. The ideal tax preparation software should help walk you through each step of the process and unpack what you need to do.
Here are a few key components to look for in a tax software program:
- The ability to import data from other sources
- Easy access to relevant tax forms
- The option to file both state and federal taxes
- Advanced filing options
Whatever tax software package you choose, be sure to let it do the majority of the work for you — and do it in a manner that serves you and your business well.