Tax season has arrived again. With tax season in full swing amid a pandemic, virtual tax preparation is poised to become a popular option this year.
Many Americans can save money by choosing to file their taxes themselves or with the help of affordable tax preparation software. But in a complicated tax situation, you might feel more comfortable working with a tax preparer. That’s when virtual tax preparation can come in handy.
We’re partnering with H&R Block to highlight what you need to know about virtual tax preparation. If you want professional tax prep but don’t want to visit an office, you can work with your local H&R Block tax pro remotely – wherever you want, on any device you want. Make an appointment here >>
Plus, College Investor readers can get $25 off their virtual tax prep with this coupon!
Before you dive into virtual tax preparation, let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know about it.
What Is Virtual Tax Preparation?
Virtual tax preparation is when you work with a tax preparer on your tax returns without meeting in-person. Although the tax preparer you hire will likely offer the opportunity to discuss the details of your unique tax situation in more detail, a face to face meeting won’t be required.
With this type of tax preparation, you won’t have to drag all of your sensitive financial information across town. Instead, you can send over your documents with the comfort of a remote arrangement (usually via an online dropbox-type service).
Typically, at the end of a virtual tax preparation arrangement, you will have the opportunity to review your returns. Once you are satisfied and grant permission, the tax preparer can file your taxes for you.
H&R Block allows you to take advantage of their expert tax services however and wherever you choose. You can even start one way and finish another. Check it out here >>
Benefits Of Virtual Tax Preparation
Whether you don’t have the time to handle your tax return or are uncomfortable with filing your taxes, a tax preparer can help you finalize your tax return documents quickly.
Tax preparation can be especially useful if you have a complicated financial situation. For example, with multiple rental properties and your own business, the help of a professional tax expert may be well worth the cost.
If you are seeking tax preparation help, then going with the virtual option could save you time and energy. Gathering your documents for a local meeting can be a time-consuming undertaking. Instead, you can simply send your documents and field any questions about the paperwork from the comfort of your home (and at any time of day).
A virtual tax preparation process can pave the way for a smooth experience to check this item off your financial to-do list.
Disadvantages Of Virtual Tax Preparation
The drawbacks of virtual tax preparation line up with the negative aspects of any style of tax preparation.
A big disadvantage is the cost of tax preparation. In most cases, you’ll have to pay a few hundred dollars to work with a tax preparer. Although the exact cost will depend on your situation, you could easily save that money by using free tax preparation software (which H&R Block is also one of our top picks).
With some virtual services, you may not know who your tax preparer is ahead of time, and how much experience they have. With that, it is important to do your due diligence on potential tax preparers before making your choice. Consider how much experience they have before moving forward. If you are interested in H&R Block, their tax pros also have an average of 10 years of experience.
Finally, virtual tax preparation misses an opportunity to provide an in-person experience. If you prefer to sit down with your tax preparer in a brick-and-mortar setting to discuss your options, then this is not the right fit for you. With H&R Block, you can start one way and finish another. So, you can drop your docs off and meet face to face, then answer questions, review and approve the return online.
Things To Look For In Virtual Tax Preparation
With more of the world getting comfortable doing business from home, it is not surprising that tax preparers are offering a virtual option. Here are some things to look for:
Working with a virtual tax preparer can be a good option, but taking the time to find the right tax preparer for you is critical.
That’s why we recommend filing with an H&R Block tax expert. H&R Block is one of the largest and most well-known tax preparation companies, and they have the expertise and care to make sure your taxes are done right. Check out H&R Block Virtual Tax Prep here >>
Should You Pay For Tax Preparation?
Although it is completely possible to file your taxes for free, many of us feel uncomfortable about taking the DIY route. With so many mixed feelings about money floating around society, it is understandable that many would want to take the option of working with a qualified tax preparer.
However, going with the DIY option is typically a good idea for simple tax situations. Let’s say you are working a W-2 job without additional streams of income. In that case, filing your taxes could easily be done for free.
Note: You can compare the top free tax software options today.
But if you own your own business and have several income streams, then seeking the help of a tax professional could be a great idea. A tax professional with the specialized skills you are looking for could help you with tax planning and provide peace of mind.
Virtual tax preparation can be an ideal choice for individuals with complicated tax situations. If you plan to forgo the DIY tax route, virtual tax preparation could save you time and money as you navigate this year’s tax season.
We recommend H&R Block if you’re going the virtual route. They have the experience and tools needed to help you get your taxes done right. Plus, College Investor readers can get $25 off virtual tax preparation with this coupon!
Make an appointment with an H&R Block tax expert here >>
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.