Each new year we are required to make the decision as to whether or not we plan to spend the time to do our tax return at home in archaic free hand, purchase some tax software and spend a little less time doing it or hire an accountant that specializes in tax returns.

In 2012 this decision is no easier for our friends in the greater Apex area.  Each one of you will have to choose whether or not to spend $50 at the Target in Beaver Creek Commons or use someone like us great folks at WolfBridge Financial 

Just in case you are planning on gutting it out from the comfy confines of your own home again, here our some thoughts from our tax return staff on which tax software to use before April 15, 2012 depending on your current situation.

Simple Tax Return

You’re single or married, have a W-2 or three from your employer(s), have a mutual fund or two, maybe some bank interest and own a home and/or car.  These are also for folks who don’t need to worry about a bunch of deductions.

Tax Act – A very basic version is free for Federal and as little as $14.95 to do your North Carolina State taxes. Even if you use their deluxe edition you will pay less that 20 to file everything.

TurboTax – The free edition is free for Federal and $27.95 for state. A little more expensive than Tax Act, but with somewhat more user-friendly software interface.

Moderately Difficult Tax Returns

If you can add rental properties and tons of deductions, from those that are work related to those that are charity related, to the list of items above then you probably should consider spending a little more on some more detailed software.

H&R Block Deluxe – For about $60 total you can file both Federal and State. You will also receive mortgage interest and charitable tax deduction maximizes, help with hundreds of tax deductions and more.

TurboTax Premier – Designed for taxpayers who have several W-2s and claim common deductions, such as mortgage interest and charitable contributions, this version is a little pricy at around $80 for both state and federal but offers a ton of support options for moderately experienced users.

Complex Tax Returns

When it comes to complex tax returns that involve a small business, multiple rental properties, a large family and more there are versions of software that can be purchased for anywhere from $100 – $200.

With the cost of getting a tax return done by a professional being not much more we would highly recommend at this point you at least consult a local accountant to make sure if you do handle this on your own that you are maximizing your savings and not running from the IRS!

Do you use tax return software? If so, which do you typically go with and why? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.