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When it comes to filing your taxes, can you go it alone? Or should you get help? Use the information and links below to learn what's best for you.
For years we've messed with forms and instructions, but filing your taxes online is the wave of the future. James Troxel, of Urbana, files online every year.
"I've always done it online. Just like you do anything online, it's fast, it's convenient it's easy."
Troxel can file his taxes in just twenty minutes online. And according to the government, he's one of the more than eighty million people who will file online this year. In 2006, the Internal Revenue Service projected 145 million people to file by paper, and 84 million online. In just five years, it expects the number of people who file online to nearly match those who file by paper.
The Internet is making it easier for people to file alone, but should we? Experts say if you have one W-2 and limited investments, it's the perfect option. Filing online is fast and online programs tell you exactly where to put numbers.
Julie Shapland, an associate professor of accounting at Parkland College, says there is a point when you should get help.
"As your tax situation gets more complicated, even with something as common as a mutual fund investment or having to make estimated tax payments, or buying and selling assets or investments...you should seek council of a CPA."
People like Amanda Ward, of Tolono, say they simply feel more comfortable seeking help.
"If I messed up online, it would be a lot harder for me to find out where I messed up at. Compared to if I come here, they can help me out a lot better."
And tax professionals hope that's what will keep them in business. Eldon Gleichman, of H & R Block, says, "maybe you have a child care credit out there that you could take but in the long run that would lessen your refund. We look both ways on that and we can help people do that."
If you do file online, you're not completely rid of paper. When you're done with your return, be sure to print out a hard copy for your files.
CLICK HERE to learn about new deductions you may be able to claim, like the one-time TELEPHONE TAX REFUND .
Step by step directions: HOW TO FILE ONLINE.
Are you eligible to file for free? FIND OUT HERE.
Search through the IRS list of E-FILE PARTNERS to find the best way for you to file online.
Beware of companies offering immediate returns. Experts say the loans are very expensive and could make you pay up to 500-percent interest, just to get your money two weeks earlier. Find out more at the CENTER FOR RESPONSIBLE LENDING.
For a list of local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers CLICK HERE .