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Tax Filing Guide

Tax Filing Guide

Buying Guide

Tax Season is just around the corner…do you know how you’re going to file your tax return? This comprehensive guide explains the different ways to file your taxes including the best tax preparation software as well as other options – free and paid. Follow the links to the various types of income tax filing software, or read on to learn about other ways to file your taxes.

Complete your tax return by purchasing tax preparing software such as H&R Block at Home (formerly TaxCut) and Turbo Tax. They are easy to use, and you can prepare your tax return at your convenience. Simply enter your income and expense information, and the software will automatically do the math and put them in the appropriate form. Tax preparation software generally runs around $20-$80. You can choose to print off your return and mail it, or e-file it (some software will charge you extra for e-filing). Receive your refund faster (14 days is the approximate turnaround according to the IRS) and with fewer errors compared to the mail in method. Always use the latest version of software, since tax laws constantly change. Also, make sure that the software is compatible with your computer. To see ratings for online tax software see Tax Software Review by Top Ten Reviews.

Turbo Tax 2012


TurboTax Basic:

Makes doing your simple taxes easy by guiding you step by step through your federal tax return. Best for filing a 1040EZ or other simple tax return, homeowners without a mortgage or home renters.
Extras: State Tax Add-on: $39.95 per state + $19.95 per e-file
Buy Now: $40.00 Ships Free.



TurboTax Deluxe:

Designed to make it easy for you to get the biggest tax refund possible. Best for homeowners, charitable donators, those with significant education or medical expenses, those with childcare expenses or lots of deductions. Includes everything in TurboTax Basic and State returns.
Extras: State Tax Add-on: $19.95 per e-file
Buy Now: $49.94 Ships Free.


TurboTax Premier:

Designed to help you make the most of your investments and rental property deductions, so you get the biggest tax refund possible. Best for rental property owners, estate or trust beneficiaries and those who sold stock, bonds, mutual funds or options for an employee stock plan. Includes everything in TurboTax Deluxe, including State returns.
Extras: State Tax Add-on: $19.95 per e-file
Buy Now: $89.00 Ships Free.


TurboTax Home & Business:

Designed to help you take full advantage of your personal and business deductions so you get the biggest tax refund possible. Best for those who are a sole proprietor, consultant, 1099 contractor or single-owner LLC, those who received income from self-employment, those with W-2 and 1099-MISC employers or contractors, or those filing business and personal taxes together. Includes everything in TurboTax Premier, including State returns.
Extras: State Tax Add-on: $19.95 per e-file
Buy Now: $96.00 Ships Free.


TurboTax Business

Designed to help you take full advantage of business deductions so you get the biggest tax refund possible. Its customized interview tailors itself to your type of business and provides extra guidance to simplify tax preparation and help you maximize tax savings. Best for those with a corporation, partnership, or multi-member LLC. Includes state return add-on.
Extras: State Tax Add-on: $19.95 per e-file
Buy Now: $149.00 Ships Free.

H&R Block At Home


H&R Block at Home:

Personalized tax guidance for those who are filing a simple tax return. Get step-by-step assistance, accurate calculations and get the highest refund possible.
Extras: State Tax Add-on: $29.94 per each state return filed or $19.95 per each state e-file used
Buy Now: $33.00 Ships Free.



H&R Block at Home Deluxe:

Personalized tax guidance for those who have investments, own a home or make charitable donations. Maximize mortgage interest and charitable deductions as well as sale of stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Includes state return program.
Extras: State Tax Add-on: $19.95 per each state e-file used
Buy Now: $53.00 Ships Free.



H&R Block at Home Premium:

Advanced tax calculatros for the self-employed or those with rental property. Also includes rental income assistance, tax laws and planning resources, audit support from a tax professional and one free session for live tax advice.
Extras: State Tax Add-on: $19.95 per each state e-file used
Buy Now: $70.00 Ships Free.



H&R Block at Home Premium and Business:

Ideal for corporations, S corporations, partnerships, LLCs, non-profits, and estates and trusts, the program includes the H&R Block expertise they trust, along with expert advice from our community of tax specialists, business tax planning, payroll and employer forms, live personal tax advice, personal audit support, and our Maximum Refund Guarantee. Includes state return program.
Extras: State Tax Add-on: $19.95 per each state e-file used
Buy Now: $82.00 Ships Free.

Online Tax Preparation

Just like tax software, except no installation. Complete your tax filing anywhere using a standard web browser. With online tax preparation, you’re working directly over the internet, while with tax software you’re directly working on your computer and saving to the hard drive. This can be less expensive upfront, but watch for hidden fees, especially in e-filing (e-filing typically lets you receive your refund faster, usually 14 days).


CompleteTax 2011

CompleteTax guides you through your return to get you the biggest refund you’re entitled to. And, when you file your taxes online with CompleteTax, you watch your federal and state refunds add up automatically as you fill out your return. All CompleteTax income tax return products include a 100% Accurate Calculations Guarantee. We guarantee accurate calculations or we’ll reimburse resulting IRS penalties and interest charges resulting from our calculation error up to $10,000.


FreeTaxUsa 2012

FreeTaxUSA helps you by skipping sections that don’t apply to your tax return. Import previous years tax data. To save you time, your information is saved from year to year. FreeTaxUSA guarantees the accuracy of our tax calculations. If you are assessed any IRS penalties and/or interest due to a calculation error in our software, we will pay the interest and penalties.


TaxAct 2012

TaxACT, provides its users the highest degree of accuracy and completeness and is designed by in-house programmers, CPAs (Certified Public Accountants), and tax accountants. TaxACT also provides its users a highly reliable and robust alerts system to prevent costly mistakes generally caused by omissions or missed opportunities to maximize deductions. Regardless of the TaxACT version and / or platform, all forms are IRS and State approved.

Free File Program through IRS

Taxpayers can file their taxes for free with the Free File program and receive their refund in as little as 10 days with Direct Deposit. To be eligible, your adjusted gross income in 2011 must be $57,000 or less. There are about 20 tax software providers offering free tax filing subjected to limitations, including H&R Block and TurboTax. Before selecting a software company, be sure to read their fine print. Some companies offer limited services for free while charging for more comprehensive options. Read more about Free File or visit the Free File microsite for more information.

Other Ways to File Your Taxes

Professional Tax Preparers

Tax preparers work with clients to help them complete their returns. If during the past tax year, you’ve gotten married or divorced, bought or sold a house, inherited money, experienced a death of a spouse, or other major life event, then you’ll probably be better off going to a qualified tax preparer. Also, if you don’t feel comfortable doing your own taxes, you should look into seeing a qualified tax professional.

H&R Block

Walk in with your taxes, and receive a loan check within 1 to 2 days later. H&R Block’s Instant Money Refund Anticipation Loan, allows you to take out a loan in the amount of your anticipated tax refund and immediately receive your check, minus bank fees and H&R Block’s fees. Watch out though, this is not your refund; it is a bank loan that has to be repaid, and the interest rate can be pretty steep.

Old fashioned paper and pen

By preparing your taxes manually, you’re more likely to create errors. Missing a tax deduction or credit could cost you hundreds of dollars in a tax refund, and claiming the wrong one could result in a fraudulent return. Be careful and double check your calculations if you use this route.

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