What to Consider Before You Do Your Taxes

Should you hire an accountant, use tax software, or do them on your own?

Photo by Bloomberg/Getty Images

This article originally appeared on LearnVest.com.

Doing taxes certainly isn’t fun, but it is necessary. Even Albert Einstein once said, “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” Harder than quantum physics? Really?

Well, we dare say, we disagree with Einstein. With a little preparation, taxes are not that hard. So no whining. Paying taxes is not optional. Let’s get organized and get them done.

Taxes are not something to fear. They are something to tackle and tackle correctly. Your number one priority should be to make sure you have the time and resources to get your taxes done error-free.

The IRS website has great resources, and there are plenty of free tax software options to use if you have had a relatively simple financial life this year. What do we mean by “simple?” If you receive the bulk of your income from one source and you are not changing your filing status this year (single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, etc.), you qualify as having a “simple” financial life.

The more complex your financial situation, the longer your taxes may take you to complete. The IRS estimates that it takes each American an average of 26 hours to file their taxes! If any of the below situations apply to you, a paid version of a tax software, such as TurboTax (about $30), or hiring an accountant, may save you significant time.