When it comes to filing income taxes, Americans have several options for submitting their tax forms. A new study reveals the factors that drive taxpayers' filing decisions and sheds light on recent consumer filing trends.
RetailMeNot released the results of its Tax Preparation study, which analyzed consumer tax preparation and filing habits and how filers intend to use their refunds. The study found that 82 percent of individuals do not complete their taxes themselves, and instead rely on a tax preparer for assistance. This may be largely due confusion or a lack of education about the Tax Code, coupled with significant changes in Americans' financial condition and tax laws in recent years.
When seeking assistance with filing taxes, the study found that 28 percent of filers rely on online tax preparation services. The authors broke this down by demographic, and discovered that those who are most likely to use online services include middle-aged adults - those between ages 35 and 49. Further college graduates were also more likely than non-graduates to file taxes online at 31 and 26 percent, respectively. However, 23 percent of filers said they prefer the one-on-one help that a tax office can provide. This is particularly true for parents who may qualify for a range of child-related tax deductions and credits.
Most taxpayers file taxes quickly
The study also examined taxpayers' behaviors when it comes to submitting their information. Most Americans said they choose to file as quickly as possible due to the stress they feel in preparing all forms and documents. For example, 30 percent of Americans find gathering the required paperwork the most frustrating part of filing their taxes, while 19 percent said owing additional taxes creates the most anxiety. Another 16 percent said they become flustered by the amount of time it takes to fill out tax forms, while 11 percent cite gathering the required forms as the most burdensome task. As a result, 68 percent of filers seek to get the process over quickly, and file immediately or before the end of February. Another 17 percent said they file during March, while 15 percent wait until April 1 or later to submit their documents.
Given that many people find tax season stressful or express confusion over their requirements and eligibility for benefits, working with a licensed tax preparer can help mitigate the anxiety most people feel and reduce the risk of costly mistakes.
Liberty Tax Service (NASDAQ: TAX) has prepared over 2 million tax returns in 2012 alone and has over 4,100 offices in the United States and Canada. As the fastest growing tax franchise ever, Liberty Tax's total revenues grew to $109.1 million last tax season. Liberty Tax stands behinds community enrichment efforts by sponsoring various non-profit organizations and urging their employees and franchisees to give back to their communities.
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