Choosing a tax option that's right for you takes some thought

By Erica Shaffer - bio | email

Posted by Dave Dykema - email

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - W2s are showing up in the mail or being passed out at work. Now that you have yours in hand, there are several options to file your taxes.

Choices include making them out yourself, either on paper or electronically, or going to a tax professional. Which method is right for you?

There are things to weigh. Free online services like Turbo Tax or have possible pitfalls.

"You could click a button wrong you might send some wrong information. You might double a W2 up. You might double a 1099 up," Dave Gang, owner of Liberty Tax Service, said.

Doing it on paper by yourself can strain your brain. "I got a complicated mess to take care of on my taxes," Dwight Sidener explained.

You may want to consider having someone else look at your situation.

That's why the United Way is offering free tax preparation services with IRS certified preparers.

"The fees that someone will save by going to a VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) site can be used elsewhere to strengthen a person's personal resources," said Amelia Gibbon of the Toledo United Way.

And they take it a step further. They educate you.

"You are given very transparent information," Gibbon said. "You are going to be empowered because you will understand the steps and the processes."

If your situation is extremely complicated or you don't qualify for the free tax preparation service, hiring a company can calm your nerves. Even though there's a fee, it's all about the experience and the guarantee.

"You do get a little bit more peace of mind coming to a professional preparer," Gang said. If you need the money quick, "We can get you money faster than when those other services can get you."

Tax professionals say if you hire a tax preparer it's a loan against your tax return so you should check the percentage and make sure you are able to pay back that loan.

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