Answer by Wray Rives:
and make some very good points in their answers. I would just add one more perspective. In college I was required to take classes in Fortran and Basic, so I have a very rudimentary skill at computer programming and can even write a really simple program and was able to teach myself enough html to make some really basic changes to my website. I am an accountant and would equate my programming skills to a computer programmer who works a W2 job and maybe has some interest or dividend income. That computer programmer can probably do his own tax return, just like I can probably insert and re-size an image onto my website.
While I fully understand that I am not qualified to write any kind of complex computer software, I find that a lot of computer programmers (along with other non-tax trained individuals in other professions) don't know their limitations in doing their own tax return. For a perfect example of this on Quora read
I believe some reasons for this perspective are:
- The TurboTax Effect that makes average citizens think that simply using the software will make them tax experts.
- Some people perceive that tax laws are a bunch of hard and fast rules and not open to interpretation and variation as they might apply to similar taxpayers, which is far from the truth.
- There are under qualified tax professionals preparing tax returns and I am sure some people have had bad experiences using these "accountants". Maybe even finding out that they knew more than the so called professional.
So while I try to answer tax questions as fully as possible, I am often limited to giving general advice and I do end a lot of answers with the suggestion that the OP consult a tax professional. I make that suggestion so that a hopefully qualified tax professional can not only consider all the unique factors that impact the right answer, but also because experience tells me that a little digging very often reveals that OP's get their facts wrong frequently or don't disclose all their facts and those different facts will very often impact the answer I would have given and I hate giving someone bad advice.