In the United States, rather than having trained professionals do the taxes, the government just asks citizens to do it on their own — regardless of their level of education or understanding of tax laws. Everyone has to file by a certain date with their own paperwork. That goes for everyone from the finance professor at the local college to the high-school drop-out who has a part-time job.
As you can imagine, this process is more difficult for some than others. That’s why many people hire their own tax professionals to do it for them. Those who want to save on the cost of paying a pro, though, will often use tax software. They can then do it on their computer. The idea is that the program guides them and helps them to make up for what they may not understand on their own.
But is this software accurate? Generally, it is. There are many free options, and some make you pay a small amount the more complicated your situation is. For those with very complex tax needs, the price may continue to increase.
That said, the software doesn’t do the job for you. You can still make mistakes: Skipping steps, entering the wrong totals, claiming things you’re not supposed to claim. You control all of the input, and this can still lead to many mistakes that could leave you owing money to the government or getting a call about an audit because your tax filing just does not add up. Don’t assume that just using the program means it’s flawless. If you find yourself facing serious issues with the IRS, you need to know what steps to take to preserve your financial stability and resolve the problem with the least amount of trouble.