When it's time to prepare your taxes, you may invest in a tax software program and assume that it will be sufficient to walk you through the steps of preparing your returns. While it's true that software programs will help you during tax time, there are some very good reasons to consider using the services of tax accountants instead.

This is especially true if you're self-employed, own property, or have any other financial complications that could affect your returns:

1. A tax software program will only ask limited questions

A software program will walk you through your return by asking if you got married, had a child, and other such basic information that will affect your return, but their questions are limited. They may not ask if property used while self-employed depreciated throughout the year, or be able to list all the potential deductions you might have to claim.

A tax accountant will be able to draw on years of experience in asking questions about your financial situation, property you own, business deductions, and so on, so that your returns are prepared properly, nothing is overlooked, and your tax bill is decreased as much as possible.

2. A program cannot work with you throughout the year to lower your tax bill 

A tax accountant is a professional who does more than just prepare your returns; he or she can work with you to help lower your tax bill throughout the year. They can also offer suggestions for the following year, if you only visit them when it's time to prepare your returns.

They may note how you might depreciate property, make certain charitable contributions, move funds to a trust account, and so on. A tax software program cannot help to lower your bill but only assists in preparing the returns.

3. You cannot ask questions of a software program

Do you know if you can deduct all the expenses associated with moving because of a job? How do you deduct gambling losses and should you do that on your returns? What are the legal requirements for calming spousal support as income, and is there a way to avoid this?

These are common questions that many people have when it comes to preparing tax returns, but a software program cannot answer them for you. They can walk you through certain scenarios, but since they cannot interact with you and answer specific questions, you may miss out on certain deductions or claim deductions that shouldn't be listed.