Do you look forward to doing your taxes? Me neither. We have to find our slips, check (or rather, find) our receipts, and then figure out how to finish everything by the April 30 deadline while handling all our other chores. Even though about 60% of Canadians usually get refunds, things like CERB taxes mean many might owe money, which can add more stress to an already stressful job.

The stress, effort, and time it takes to do taxes by yourself are why many people say no thanks to DIY and hire a professional instead. But is it really worth it to pay someone else to do a job you could maybe do yourself? Here are some things to think about:

Doing Your Own Taxes: Save Money or Waste Time?

Doing your own taxes can save you money because you don’t have to pay a pro, which can cost a lot. But time is important too, and you might spend a lot of it dealing with numbers, forms, and steps to file your tax return. If your taxes are tricky, you might make mistakes, costing you more money than hiring a tax accountant would. This could be in money you missed or fees you owe after April 30, even if you didn’t know about them.

Luckily, most Canadians can do their own taxes just fine. If you’re used to paper filing, try using CRA-certified software to help you do your taxes online. This can help you avoid mistakes, get any refund you’re owed faster, and make the whole process easier. If the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) invited you to file by phone, that might be your best option. This is usually for people with low or fixed incomes and simple tax situations. Depending on your situation, you might also be able to use a free tax clinic where volunteers help you file your taxes for free.

Hiring a Pro to File Your Taxes: Is It Worth It?

If you already have a good relationship with a tax preparer and know that their work is solid and their price fits your budget, you’ll probably be happy to keep using them. For everyone else, getting a professional to file their taxes can be tricky. You need to find the right person for the job. If they make a mistake, you’re the one who will pay for it. That’s why, after hiring a new tax professional, you should check their work at least once to make sure they’ve got all the details right. This could take as much time and effort as just doing it yourself.

Yet the biggest benefit of hiring a professional tax accountant – getting help to make sure your tax return is done correctly – is really important. For example, if you own a business, work as a freelancer, have a profitable side job, or even just bought or sold a home, there could be deductions you don’t know about or expenses you never thought to claim. A tax accountant, bookkeeper, or other tax expert can ensure you’ve claimed, deducted, and filed everything you need to. Besides that, knowing you’ve got backup in case of an audit could itself be worth the price (which is also deductible on your return).

Get Ready to File Your Taxes in March

Whether you choose to do your taxes yourself or get help, start early. By the first week of March, you should have all the forms you need from your job. This includes your T4, T4A, T5, RRSP contribution slips, donation receipts, and a T2200 if you’re claiming work from home expenses. Spend some time this week gathering everything, even if you’re not filing yet. Getting organized now will make things easier later and help you fix any problems early. If you want to hire a tax expert, start looking for one now.

Why Filing Your Taxes on Time is Important

If you’re worried about doing your taxes alone, getting help from a professional is a good idea. Ask them lots of questions and check their work to learn more about the process. This way, you might be able to do it yourself next year. Remember, you can always contact the CRA with any questions.