Couple filing their taxes using tax software

Pros and Cons of Using Tax Software

Tax season is coming up and you have to file your taxes. Now you have two options: E-file or go into a local office. Each one has its own pros and cons, but what are they? Here we’ll explain the pros and cons of e-filing when compared to going into a local office. Then you can decide whether or not filing your taxes from the comfort of your home is worth it.


  • Save money
    Overall, you have the chance of saving tons of cash. Going into an office can cost you anywhere from $50 to $150 or more to have a professional tax advisor assist you. If you have a simple, straightforward tax situation, you can file a 1040EZ form for free using most online programs. Other 1040 forms are also cheaper than visiting a local office. You can also file directly on the IRS website.
  • Accuracy and efficiency
    Everything you need to file your tax return automatically becomes part of your online return. It’s as simple as filling in the proper information in the correct box. By filling it out at home, you also won’t forget to attach any documents or corroborating information that is required by the IRS. Furthermore, online returns automatically calculate the math. Local offices do the math themselves, and while some people may be excellent at math, it’s hard for anyone to be more accurate then e-filing programs.
  • Gain financial insight
    Paying your own taxes allows you to look at your own finances. Are there options to save money? You may realize countless deductions while e-filing. Going into a local office already takes a while, so tax professionals may be less likely to give an in-depth look at your situation. However, with e-filing, you can spend as long as you want combing through the various deductions available to you.
  • Complete quicker
    It’s just faster. Filing your tax return in an office can take a while, especially if that information must then be inputted by a tax professional. You can spend several hours in office waiting, and then you’ll also have to wait for this information to be sent off. E-filing allows you to have your information sent to the IRS immediately. You can receive refunds in as little as 10 days, while mailing it in can take up to three weeks.


  • Requires some computer knowledge
    Tax programs may seem unfamiliar or uncomfortable if you don’t use a computer often. Someone who rarely uses a computer may have issues inputting the information, which could lead to errors in the tax form. While many programs check for errors, it won’t catch everything.
  • May be more expensive
    Depending on your tax situation, you may consider going into a local office. Complex tax situations need better programs, which can cost upwards of $110. At that price, you may as well visit a local office. The only way to determine this is to call local tax preparation offices and compare the prices to those you find online.
  • Can be difficult
    Learning how to navigate various programs and use them isn’t for everyone. It may be difficult at first, and this can cause undue stress. While most include easy-to-understand instructions or guides, the process can seem unfriendly. It just isn’t for everyone.
  • Risk of error
    Since there may be more stress involved, the risk of error increases. There is also the added danger of not having assistance while filing. If a mistake happens, you and you alone are accountable. While many programs may assist you with audit support (something you have to research to find out), you will still be held responsible for any mistakes. If you aren’t fully confident in yourself before or during the process, you always have the option to visit a local office for assistance. 
Last Updated: April 21, 2020