Taxes for the most part are simple and easy. You just plug in the numbers into the software and hit “continue” This is true for millions of taxpayers, just like it is untrue for millions and millions of taxpayers.
A qualified tax professional can input the same information into their professional software that the consumer does and because of past experience on how and where to input the information; can get a totally different outcome then you, the consumer.
If you have to file only a 1040A or a 1040EZ, doing your own taxes might be a good idea. However, it your returns are more complex, then you may want to hire a Professional. No, Tax Professionals are not cheap but neither is owing IRS.
If if your return is complicated and you feel that you completed it correctly but you still owe; a Tax Accountant can help you avoid the same mistake next year.
Tax Professionals breath, live, eat and drink tax law. They are on top of every new update that comes to them via the online service of choice. These updates may or may not change the outcome of a return. A good professional software goes back and checks each completed return, to see if the updates will change the outcome of the return.
The difference between a Tax Preparer and a Tax Accountant is a Preparer will complete your return and run a system audit. A Tax Accountant will complete the taxes, do an audit check and help the client understand how to lower their taxes for the coming years.
Taxes is law. Congress changes the laws every year. Its a Tax Professionals job to keep up with the dozens, if not hundreds, of new tax laws each year. (Thank goodness for the computer)