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If you find filing your annual income tax return stressful, you’re not alone. A recent survey found more than half of all Americans are anxious about completing their tax returns. Part of that anxiety is how to go about filing. Should you hire a certified public accountant (CPA) or take the DIY online software approach?

CPAs can transform your pile of financial records into a coherent tax return, saving you time. They’re also skilled at answering your every question while navigating complex tax scenarios and will run interference should the IRS raise a red flag. Of course, these services come at a cost — on average $273 for filing an itemized return.

If your tax profile is uncomplicated and you’re willing to commit the time, online tax prep software could be a smart and economic choice. Before you stress over your Form 1040, consider these five incentives to filing your tax return online.

Incentive 1: Easy-to-Follow Tax Preparation Process Tax prep software, such as TurboTax, prompts you to enter income, deductions and credits and your health insurance coverage details, and it explores uncommon tax situations. It can even look up your W–2s, investment information, banking information and more. If you miss filling in a blank, you’re prompted to return to that section until it is completed appropriately.

Incentive 2: Tax Questions Answered Should you itemize or go with a standard deduction? Do you need to fill out a Schedule E? Online tax software can relieve the guesswork: After prompting you to answer a series of questions, the program selects the deduction that saves you the most money—and fills out the appropriate forms required by the IRS. For additional help, some online tax services even provide free real-time chat with a tax specialist.

Incentive 3: Tax Preparation Programs Can Find Hidden Money The tax software’s question-and-answer format helps eligible taxpayers find tax breaks, such as the Earned Income Credit. The software then selects the appropriate tax forms and does the calculations automatically.

Incentive 4: Online Tax Prep Provides Instant Gratification As you enter information into the tax preparation program, you can watch your refund grow (or see how much you’ll owe) immediately in the display calculator. Once, you’re done, click “send” and your return is automatically filed. Your refund can be directly deposited into your bank account within weeks.

Incentive 5: Tax Preparation Software Can Save You Money On average, CPAs charge $176 for filing a basic federal and state return and $273 for a return that requires itemization. Fees for online tax services vary but will save you $100 per state/federal return, on average.* Depending on your income, you may even qualify for free online tax filing. The IRS provides a list of free tax filing services and resources.

Did You Know?

According to the IRS, over 135 million tax returns were e-filed in 2018. That’s more than 88% of all returns filed.