Tax filers who paid an accountant or CPA to prepare their returns registered a high level of satisfaction with their method of preparation, with 75 percent stating that they were “very satisfied” in working with the accountant or CPA, according to a new survey.

The survey of 1,870 adults, by enterprise feedback software provider MarketTools, found that those who worked with an individual to prepare their taxes are more likely to report being “extremely satisfied” with the tax preparation process.

The most popular means of preparing taxes among the survey respondents was paying an individual such as an accountant or CPA to prepare the tax returns, or using a Web-based online tax preparation service. Each of these methods was used by 28 percent of the filers.

Other methods of tax preparation were far less popular, including using tax software purchased in a store or downloaded (14 percent), visiting a branch office of a tax preparation chain (14 percent), completing IRS forms by hand (7 percent), and using a non-paid individual such as a friend or family member (5 percent). 

In addition to the high satisfaction rates of those who used a CPA or accountant to prepare their returns, 77 percent of the filers who used an unpaid individual preparer (such as a friend or family member) reported being extremely satisfied with the experience. However, only 5 percent of the respondents said they used a friend or family member, while 28 percent said they used an accountant or CPA.

Satisfaction was lowest for individuals who visited a tax preparation chain to prepare their taxes, with only 64 percent reporting that they were extremely satisfied with this method, followed by those who used an online tax service (66 percent “extremely satisfied”) and those who used tax software (69 percent “extremely satisfied”).

The survey also found that 81 percent of the adults surveyed who have already completed their 2010 federal income taxes filed their returns electronically, up from 76 percent who e-filed for 2009.

The study showed that the majority of taxpayers surveyed— 68 percent—filed their 2010 federal income taxes by April 1. Eighty-one percent of those who had filed their 2010 returns reported that they are due a refund on their taxes.

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