Tax season has officially started. Most people are anxiously checking their mailboxes and email inboxes for W-9s and other tax-related documents needed to put their 2015 finances to rest.

Filing your taxes ranks with saving money as one of the most important financial tasks that every adult has to undertake. Many people debate whether they should file their own taxes or hire a tax preparation specialist. Here are a few tips on how to make that decision.

Have You Had Any Major Life Changes?

If you have experienced one of the following life changes, you should consider working with a professional.

You Moved.

If you moved to a new state, it’s important to know that each state has slightly different and nuanced tax related rules and regulations.

You Got Married.

If wedding bells rang for you in 2015, you may need to file your taxes differently than you have in the past.  Bringing together the finances of two different individuals is not an easy undertaking. One or both spouses may be bringing in property, children, or debt. All of those circumstances can affect your taxes. Working with a CPA or other tax professional will help couples to manage that financial transition.

You Purchased a Property.

New properties represent potential tax deductions, though not all properties will provide a higher deduction than your standard deduction. Work with your tax professional to figure out how to file for your maximum refund.

Are Your Circumstances Relatively Unchanged?

No major life changes or purchases in 2015? That may be the signal to file your own taxes, using your previous year’s return as a guide.  Fortunately, there are a number of tax filing software options that will simplify the process and even help you to get your refund deposited directly into your bank account.

Still Not Sure? Ask for Help!

Tax time can be stressful.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help and work with a professional if you’re not sure what to do. Take time to gather all of your paperwork and tax related materials together, but don’t procrastinate! File early and breathe easy when the April 15th deadline hits.

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