Tax time is almost upon us. For some, it brings the sweet financial reprieve of a refund after holiday spending has left them broke. For others, it brings more dread, but it has to be done. If you are staring tax time in the face, you should know that there are plenty of tax preparation services available, from cheapest and easiest to most expensive and complicated. Do not worry; even if you do your taxes yourself, you can always have a professional check them over for errors.

DIY Taxes, Old School

If you are still one of the millions of Americans that do your own taxes and file paper forms, then you know how much cheaper and easier this is. It costs you nothing to file, no software expense, and you know exactly what is entered on "Box 11, line a" (etc.) because you are the one that wrote in all of the numbers and information. Of course, the downside is that it will take several more weeks, even months, for your paper form to be received and processed.

DIY Taxes, Modern Age

Steps up from paper forms you have online tax prep software that plugs everything in for you, guides you through, and then files your forms. It takes about as much time as the paper forms, except that there are no computing errors because the software does all that for you. The software also makes sure you do not miss any tax breaks or credits you should get, which could make a huge difference in how much you get back or how much you have to pay the IRS.

The downside is that you do have to pay to file any form except the "filing single, single income/set of W2's" form, and that can range from $60 software to $250 software, depending on which brand/company you use. However, you can have that amount deducted from your taxes if you are getting a refund and are willing to wait a couple extra weeks for the payment to process. You also get your refund much sooner via direct deposit into your account for filing this way.

Tax Prep Services

Tax prep services are everyday people trained on the use of company tax prep software. The employees only work during tax season and in brand-name tax prep offices. They may be able to find you even more money you did not think you had coming or could claim. If you know you are terrible with math and worried you may be audited, then having a tax prep pro on your side is worth both the cost and the support services they provide. Contact a company like Hough & Co CPA  to learn more.