SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Filing your taxes -- a dreaded task for most, a forgotten one for others, but to keep yourself out of trouble with the IRS, you'd better do it. So what's the best way to get them done?
Say you got married, sold some stocks, had a baby and bought a bigger house. Suddenly your taxes just got more complicated.
Katie Jaques has been doing people's taxes for decades, and now lectures at SDSU.
"If you have a lot of investment activity, you are better off to go to a paid preparer and the more complex, the higher the qualifications of that person need to be," Jaques said.
An accountant can ask questions to help you get a bigger refund and offer suggestions on changes to make today to save you more money on next year's taxes. But their expertise comes at a price that's much higher than other options.
"I've used TurboTax myself, I think ever since I retired from public accounting," Jaques said.
TurboTax is one of the largest do-it-yourself tax programs, and for a return with basic deductions it'll only cost you around $70 to do both federal and state. Do-it-yourself programs make sense for certain people.
"Anybody that has a relatively simple situation, has done it themselves before and is familiar with the forms and what they should look like, where things should show up," Jaques said.
The website Top 10 Reviews just took a closer look at 10 of the most popular do-it-yourself tax programs. TurboTax, TaxACT And H&R Block all scored excellent reviews. The reviews were based on accuracy and ease of use. But no matter how you do your taxes, one thing remains the same: waiting until April 14 is sure to tax your nerves.
"You should have started thinking about it before December 31, but if you didn't do that, now is a good time," Jaques said.
If your taxes are fairly simple, there are also free clinics around town with volunteers to help you. They're sponsored by AARP, but you don't have to be a senior.