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6 tax terrors and how to overcome them

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Afraid I can't do my taxes myself
Afraid I can't do my taxes myself | Tetra Images/Getty Images

Afraid I can't do my taxes myself

This fear, unfortunately, is too often true, in large part because of the ever-expanding tax code. Its exact size has been the subject of much debate in recent years, with one think tank in Washington, D.C., calculating that it now contains more than 10 million words when you count the Internal Revenue Code itself (2.4 million words long) and accompanying regulations (7.66 million words) to implement the laws.

No one, however, disputes the difficulty in deciphering the tax code. The National Taxpayer Advocate's annual assessment of the most serious problems facing taxpayers usually includes tax code complexity on the list.

It's no wonder the average taxpayer feels overwhelmed. Robert Simon, CPA and partner with WithumSmith+Brown in the accounting and consulting firm's New York office notes, "It is easy to understand why people can get confused when you consider the sheer number of code sections involved."

The remedy: Don't be afraid to ask for help. Most of us already do. The IRS says around 80% of us rely on tax software or tax professionals to get our taxes done.

You have lots of preparer options, from a personal accountant who can fill out your return and help you plan throughout the year to franchise operations that gear up between Jan. 1 and mid-April. If your tax situation is not overly complicated, computer software might be enough to help you file with a bit more confidence. Take a look at your tax needs, then find the tax assistance that best meets them.

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