Stop, Think & Save!


Software can’t stop you from committing human errors. Doing your own taxes really isn’t
like hanging your TV on the wall. This tax season, consider the danger of human error: namely,
your own. Here are some situations that may persuade you to turn the task over to a pro. Small
errors lead to expensive tax bills.

Tax software or the old-fashioned paper forms and calculators won’t help much when the
numbers that human beings use in the first place are flawed. Finding and entering tax
information is often a difficult task. “That part of the process requires reading comprehension
and critical thinking skills, made more complicated by a specialized vocabulary,” said Lynn
Henley, an accountant in Pacifica.


Many tax returns are an annual nightmare for some. While some tax software makes one-
off communication with a pro possible, it isn’t the same as establishing a relationship with a tax
professional. Professionals who truly know you can prevent the errors that may arise when a
computer leads you on a frantic dash come April 14. “Our view is that your tax return should be
numbers on a form that you’ve thought and talked about all year, instead of throwing numbers up
in the air and hoping for the best,” said Jennifer Kohlbacher, an accountant in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
You’re a single parent. You ask yourself “How do I file?” So you are raising a child on
your own. The tax software may prompt you at the beginning to choose between filing as
“single” or “head of household.” Both answers are true, but if you say “single,” you may lose out
on valuable deductions. Sheneya Wilson, a New York City accountant, has seen the results in her
office. It even is a problem with the weapons-grade software used by tax pros, which doesn’t
necessarily prompt a preparer who adds a child elsewhere in the tax forms to change the client’s
filing status to the more optimal “head of household” choice.


The benefit of hiring a tax professional will outweigh any penalties you will incur when
you use a D-I-Y tax software. So don’t let your mistakes cost you. D-I-Y tax programs may be
cheaper than a tax professional, but paying back the IRS is expensive. The benefit of hiring a tax
professional will outweigh any penalties you will incur when you D-I-Y.