It’s that dreaded time of the year again, and no, I’m not referring to the holiday fruitcake present from Aunt Ida – it’s time to prepare your income tax returns for 2008. I used to have my Federal and State tax returns prepared by a professional. Besides the expense involved, it seemed that I did 90% of the work anyway, by gathering all my documents and organizing them into useful categories. Tax software programs ended that painful process, and I’m now in my third year using TaxCut by H&R Block. As a former Turbotax user, my personal experience has convinced me that TaxCut is the best income tax preparation program available. It’s simplified this annual mind-numbing exercise into something that is actually easy and pleasant to do.
H&R Block offers income tax software for virtually every situation, including personal and home business.
At the end of the 2007 filing period, I pre-ordered TaxCut for 2008. There was no fee for doing so, and I just received the CD in the mail yesterday.
There’s an easy, three-step process to get you started:
1. Verify your PC is connected to the Internet.
2. Insert the TaxCut CD into your CD-ROM drive. TaxCut will launch automatically.
3. Follow the easy instructions for choosing exactly what you need to file your income tax returns. Have your credit card handy for purchasing your selections.
So, what does the TaxCut software include? It has all these features:
+ One Federal tax return program and one FREE Federal e-file (electronic filing of your return)
+ Audit protection included when you e-file
+ One “Ask a Tax Advisor” session is also now included. It allows you to get live tax advice from an H&R Block tax advisor, either by phone or email. This is a new feature since the last program version.
+ Import tax and financial data from last year
+ And as a BONUS, you also get H&R Block DeductionPro
The installation is fast, easy and painless. One of the first things you should do before anything else, is import tax return files from 2007. Mine was already in the TaxCut file format, so it did it without any problems. It surely saves a lot of time re-entering all your personal data again.
You are guided through each step of the return process with very clearly understood entry boxes. If you don’t understand the item, there are sidebar links with frequently asked questions (FAQ) that should answer your question or concern. There are optional videos and flash animations that go into much more detail if you are not familiar with the particular tax item.
Are you PC-challenged? Don’t worry. This is one of, if not the best, easiest ways to prepare and file your Federal and State taxes. The free electronic filing for your Federal tax return is a great bonus, as I’ve paid $19 alone for that with other tax preparation programs. It’s also very easy to do if you’ve never done it before.
TIP: if you do file your Federal return electronically, you can get the status of your return by going to “Where’s My Refund?”:
As a New York state resident, I also have to file a state income tax return. I simply add the New York state program to my selections and download it when it becomes available. As a courtesy, H&R Block offers an email notification to advise you when it first becomes available. The beauty of the TaxCut State program is that it pulls all the Federal data into your State income tax form. This is another time-saving feature that I enjoy. The State return is even easier and faster than the Federal, as the State returns normally base their income tax rate on your Federal data. You are given the option to e-file the State return too, for an additional fee if you choose.
My total cost for the Federal income tax return, the State income tax return, and electronic filing of my Federal return was only $49.95 plus NY State sales tax.
If you need an easy, fast, inexpensive way to do your 2008 Federal and State income tax returns, take a look at TaxCut. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised this tax year!