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When can you do your own taxes, and when should you leave it to the pros

Maximizing your tax return maybe need a little experience from an expert with everchanging pandemic rules.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — If you are deciding whether to do your own taxes this year, there are some options to consider. The pandemic has caused some changes, that might be different than filing before.

Jessica Distel from Buckingham Advisors in Columbus says if you have a simple return, and you feel comfortable using an electronic program, go for it.

“For a simple return, maybe you just have a few W2s, [it’s] probably something you could prepare yourself, I'd still recommend using a tax software just so you can go through the wizard answer some questions,” said Distel. “It also gives you that ability to electronically file because I worry that if you paper file return, it's going to go into that huge pile that's waiting to be processed, and that would significantly delay your refund.”

If your situation is more complex, Distel would be concerned you are leaving money on the table that is owed to you.

“I think that's really where we can help, and that might be a situation where you're self-employed, could be that there's some new credits that are out there,” said Distel. “There is an expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Credit, that credit is up to $8,000 for 2021. If you have two or more children, so you'd hate to miss out on that.”

Distel says a third stimulus check needs to be reported correctly in case you didn’t receive it so it comes back with your refund.

“For many taxpayers who had children, they started receiving an advanced credit in July, and it was a monthly payment through December. Now this one's a little tricky. So we still need to record that on the tax return. However, if based on your 2021 income, if you receive too much in that credit, you might have to pay some back and if you've already received it, it could reduce that refund that you're expecting to receive,” Distel explained.

Distel says many times they have clients who attempted to do their own taxes and then decided to seek a professional for help.

Tax Day 2022 is on April 18.

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