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Nobody has to pay money to file their taxes. Anybody could figure it all out on their own.

But I have a new & deep appreciation for how complicated taxes can get. If you have W-2's and 1099's, it's pretty easy. But holy cow, I ran a rental property and there is a huge step function in complexity when you venture beyond the W-2 & 1099. And that was only just dipping my toes in the pool of business taxes.

So a hired accountant, or a software-accountant (turbotax, h&r block), really can help you out where you might otherwise have to pour over IRS documents every weeknight for months.

Even for people operating exclusively on wages/salary, it's amazing how fast things can snowball.

Did you work remotely for an out-of-state employer? Now you get to worry about the interplay of taxes in multiple states. Did you change health insurers mid-year? Now you're working out how to prove you were ACA-compliant at all times. Did you have some obscure deduction like rent payment deductions from state taxes? Several people I know lost hundreds of dollars this year by simply not knowing that deduction existed.

Obviously, filing with a paid service instead of simply getting a bill in the mail has a cost. But working out what one owes under the current system also has a pretty significant cost, both in hours spent and potentially in dollars.

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