Three Ways to File Your Tax Return

Written by: Christy Rakoczy

As April approaches, tax day is upon us. This year, 2013, your tax return must be filed by April 15 in order to avoid penalties for late filing or payment. Filing your tax return is never a fun thing, but it is important that you get it done. Fortunately, there are several ways to file.

Ways to File Your Tax Return

The right way to file your taxes is going to depend upon how complex your returns are. Here are three choices to consider:

  1. You could use a tax advisor to file your taxes. A tax advisor is a professional who prepares your tax returns for a fee. Usually, such an individual should be licensed and you should question his or her credentials. You can hire either a registered tax return perparer, an enrolled agent, or a certified public accountant. The first individual has passed requirements issued by the IRS, and has at least passed a competency exam. The second individual has fulfilled stricter requirements, and has a broader authority to communicate with the IRS. The final individual is the most highly trained of all three, and has a background in accounting along with training in taxation. However, one of the drawbacks to choosing a tax advisor is the added expense of hiring this individual. One of the benefits, however, is avoiding expensive errors that the professional can find.
  2. You could use an online tax preparation service to file your taxes. There are several different websites available to use to file your taxes, depending on the difficulty of your taxes. If your taxes are more complicated, you may want to use a more expensive website which can give you more thorough guidance throughout the process. One benefit of filing your taxes online is that it is usually the fastest method of receiving your tax returns. Moreover, these websites are frequently straight forward and easy to navigate. However, some of the cheaper online websites might not offer you the in-person problem solving that a professional could offer.
  3. You could complete and file your taxes on your own by mail. If your taxes are not that complicated and you feel comfortable filing on your own, then this is the cheapest method. First, you must determine what IRS forms that you need to complete and mail to the IRS. You can find these tax forms online, at your library, at your local IRS office, or even at the post office. You can also find instructions to fill out these forms at all of the above locations. Next, follow the instructions and complete the forms. Finally, mail these forms in as a package to the IRS. You can find online the correct IRS mailing address for your location. Some of the disadvantages to using filing by mail and on your own are that it is not as fast or convenient as other methods.

Each of these options has its own pros and cons to consider when deciding which is right for you. Whichever way you choose to file your tax returns, just make sure to get them in on time!


Three Ways to File Your Tax Return

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