Are all your papers organized and ready?
Feb 3, 2008 (Updated Feb 4, 2008)
The Bottom Line
Do your taxes in the comfort of your own home at your convenience.
The hardest part on doing your taxes is gathering all your paperwork and putting it in order. Once you get that organized, if you use your previous year's forms, it can usually guide you to do your own taxes and save from having an accountant do it for you or going to a tax service to have it done. Most of the forms you receive are coded on the top.
I've done my taxes online last year and decided to do it again this year. While I went back and forth between TurboTax and TaxACT, I wanted to experiment with both since you try them for free and pay when you are complete and are ready to file them. Doing my taxes online is getting easier for me to do than going to someone that charges do it for me. I print the forms even if I send it via efile and no paperwork needs to be sent. I found both give helpful instructions with each entry. I can start and work on it a little at a time if I wish. There's no one rushing me with a time limit. Wehen you return, it will prompt me if I wish to continue where I left off or review from the list os items shown.
TurboTax is one of the many products sold by the Intuit corporation such as software for personal use of business owners. The 4 choices you have to file on the web are; Free Edition for 1040EZ the easy form, Deluxe if you own your home, donated to charity have medical, education, or childcare expenses ($29.95 Federal, $29.95 State), Premier for investments and rental property ($49.95 Federal,$29.95 State), the Home & Business for self employment and personal taxes ($74.95 Federal and $29.95 State) and Personal Pro in which your return is completed and signed by one of their tax preparers ($99.95 (most Federal returns $149.95 with Schedules C, D, E, or F plus $29.95 State). Of course you can also purchase the software in computer stores or on their website to download onto your computer if you prefer to print your copies and send them in with receipts yourself. More information can be found on the TurboTax website for all different options available to make it easier for the consumer.
TuboTax online gives you several options to file according to your individual needs. They claim on their home page they guarantee you to get the biggest refund that's if you have the time to go through 2 severate sites and complete both to reach the end. There are 4 ways to choose based on your needs. From the Free Edition for 1040EZ for those with simple and plain form to more involved for those that own rental properties, businesses and having a personal pro do it for you which is the most expensive. Since I own a home and have a large medical deduction, I chose the Deluxe that stated $29.95 for Federal only. The state is an extra charge of $29.95. Most of the information is used for both while you are filling out the Federal part, it transfers the input to be used in the State form. Making the task easier and quicker to complete.
I tried not to enter the correct information since I was not sure whether to use this site or not. You can just put the information in and let their program coach you along with specific question. I did click on the instructions a few times to check further on certain questions. TurboTax has a slightly different format from TaxAct. It shows you the Deductions and Credits and allows you to choose from the list which has a cute image on the left to easily navigate to different topics and on the right it allows you to click on the ( ) to see your entries for review with drop-down lists as to other choices in the category you wish to check add information on.
As you enter information on income and expenses (deductions) the bright red amount on the top right will change to reflect the entries in Refund/Amount Due.
They guide you along and most instances the information is explained. I found both sites to differ slightly in the format that the information is provided but they are both very similar. They both take some time to go back and forth to check items that have been recorded. I always re-check my entries to make sure the amounts are right before finalizing and submitting to IRS.
When doing the state part, it's so amazing how the transfer is done so quickly from one form to the other form with adjustments accordingly made.
They send an email when the forms have been received by the IRS and the state to assure you.
Before beginning to enter information, I like to look at what's new for the filing year. Things change and it's better to be aware if they affect my situation.
While it states on the TurboTax website that they have 3610 customer reviews, I did not have a need to check them out. I wanted to do it myself and see how easy it was compared to TaxAct which is about half the price. But the price alone did not convince me which one I wanted to use.
I found them both to be equally good but I decided again for the second year to use TaxACT. Entering information while filing seem a little better on TaxACT but the format is slightly different. TurboTax seems a little more friendlier and also seems to work a little faster.
If you have the time, try both and decide for yourself which one you feel more comfortable filling out. I am going to use TaxACT but my daughter likes this TurboTax better.
Doing my taxes online is much better than mailing them and hoping they received them. I've worried about that in the past until I either received my refund or received the check back for the payment I made. You have several options on how to receive your refund but I still like to see the check in my hand if I receive a refund.
I think each year more and more people will be using their computer to file their taxes. It will get easier and faster just like everything else using the web.
My other review on TaxACT
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