(CBS News) Tax season is here and while we all know that the faster you file your taxes, the faster you'll get your refund, but unfortunately it's really not that simple.
It's important to know when to use a tax professional or when to file on your own and what resources to use for either route. Consumers often aren't sure which documents and receipts to keep organized or even what deductions they qualify for.Special Section: Tax Season
"If you have complicated taxes at all, you're self-employed, exercise stock options, do business across state lines, you absolutely should work with accountants," said Alexa Von Tobel founder and CEO of LearnVest.com, a site that helps consumers with financial issues. "Taxes are complicated, and they're changing all the time. So if you're complicated, you need to work with a tax expert."
For those that have basic returns and decide to go it on their own, there are many tax-friendly software options out there that make doing this yearly exercise less intimidating.
"If it's a pretty simple filing, we recommend software like Turbotax and Taxcat and to go to the IRS website; there are discounts that abound right now online," Von Tobel said.
Technology also makes it a lot easier to track receipts all year long. Filers can use a basic scanner on a daily or weekly basis to keep up with incoming receipts, or they can take advantage of new apps geared toward keeping people financially organized. Whatever you use to stay organized, what is most important is that you keep up to date as the year goes on and do not scramble to get it together at the beginning of tax season.
For Americans who still need to file their taxes, Von Tobel suggests filing online. They'll get their refund quickly. It's safe, fast, and the IRS gives filers an automatic confirmation.
For Alexa Von Tobel's full interview, watch the video in the player above.