Are you one of those people who puts off your taxes until the last possible minute? I’m one of those people who actually loved my tax class in law school! Although my handing out tax advice over the Internet would be in violation of some pretty serious state licensing laws, I’d still like to be able to help in any way that I can.
First of all, the mother of all tax websites–the Internal Revenue Service! Whether you are an individual, a business, a corporation, or a non-profit, you will find advice in both legal terms and layman’s terms on this website. You may even qualify for Free File, an electronic tax preparation service with online submission. 1040 Central has advice on tax law changes, files and forms, and fraudulent schemes. With IRS eFile, you can file your return online and have your refund direct deposited quicker than ever.
Parents have special tax needs and must know the credits and deductions available to them. The IRS Parents site includes information on the child tax credit, education credits (including the Hope Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit), child and dependent care, and adoption .
Need a little help putting your return together? You have three main choices. The first is paying a CPA. If you were going that route, you probably would not have been searching online in March or April for tax advice. So we will talk about the other two choices–tax software and online tax preparation.
H&R Block offers a variety of different choices. They offer a Tax Calculator and also break down the Tax Law Changes. H&R Block’s Signature Online Tax Product lets you complete your tax return online or with tax software. Either way, you can electronically submit your return to an H&R Block tax professional who will review, correct any errors found, sign and e-file your return at no additional charge. TaxCut Standard is software that you load onto your computer that takes you through a series of questions to compile your return. Although it does not feature the professional review, it will still help you maximize your deductions.
The main difference between an online tax product and tax software is that you must be connected to the Internet while you use the online product. You will create a username and password and will connect to the program through your Internet browser. Sometimes you will be able to download information from previous years or even W-2 information rather than having to retype it. While I personally prefer an online tax service, you have a wider range of options with the stand-alone software.
And after all of this, don’t forget about your state taxes! Visit your local library or your state’s website for state-specific information. Many of the programs listed above will help you file your state as well as your federal return for little or no extra cost. Whatever you choose, just make sure that you file. If you owe, you are better off filing and working out a payment plan than letting it build up and paying penalties in the years to come, as well as better make sure your cards and accounts are all well-settled, as advised by Pan Card Seva specialists. If, though, you are owed a refund, why let the government hold it for one more minute?