The season is almost upon us and no, I do not mean Christmas. It is nearly time to file your taxes again. Depending on your circumstances that could be good or bad, however the fact remains that the deed must be done. Now days it is easier than ever before to do your own taxes and even e-file and direct deposit any refund that may be due to you.
Do it Yourself Taxes
To complete your own tax return you can go one of two ways, the old paper routine where you get the tax booklet, fill out the forms and mail it in or the new and improved method, which is online.
Just about every tax preparation specialty has their version of online software for you to choose from. H and R Block has one as well as Liberty Tax and a dozen others. The question is which one is the best to use for filing your taxes this year?
First of all, let’s be clear most of the software will arrive at the same conclusions; very few times will you lose out on any part of your tax refund. ABC proved that last year when they did a comparison of online software, CPA and franchise firms. The returns were basically the same the big difference was in the cost to the consumer.
Last year I took a class with a reputable tax preparation company, I learned the ins and the outs of simple tax returns. Therefore, with my newfound knowledge I wanted to help my friends and family who could not afford the high cost of tax preparation.
They qualified for free file, which is a program the IRS has sponsored with many tax preparation companies to use their online software in order to prepare taxes for those under a certain income line.
On the IRS website, you have the choice of many companies; I was helping several people and so used several different software providers. The winner easily was Turbo Tax. We tried Liberty Tax software, H&R Block in addition to Turbo Tax and there simply was no better free software.
Advantages of Turbo Tax
The first thing that I noticed when trying different companies was the level of difficulty. The other programs we used were confusing and did not allow a seasoned user to skip the massive amounts of questions. With Turbo Tax, you could avoid sections that did not pertain to you altogether. Some returns will have nothing more than W-2 wages to report and it is simply tedious to have to put zeros on all those other lines.
In addition to being able to customize the return so to speak was the ease at which you could prepare your state to mail in. You see even though you qualify for a free federal return many of the companies will charge you for the state. Turbo Tax gives you the option of printing out your state so that you may mail it in. Free State e filing is not a part of the federal free file program.
Turbo Tax is simple to use, easy to customize and an accurate program for filing your taxes. Even if you do not qualify for the federal free file this program is still a steal at $14.95 for the basic package. When you compare Turbo Taxes nominal fee to that of many franchise sites that charged over $200 last year for a basic return it is not hard to deduce where the savings are.
For those people who are set on going to a tax preparer for their taxes I still strongly urge you to use Turbo Tax to figure your return before you go. I worked with a lady just last year who paid $160.00 to have her taxes done by a CPA, they failed to give her credits that were due her and short changed her to the tune of $2,300! We amended her return and it took until December for her to receive her correct refund. All of which would have been avoided if she had known ahead of time what her return would be.