Two inevitable things in life are death and taxes. You don’t need a professional to help you die and now with tax software for your computer you don’t (always) need a professional tax adviser to help you fill in your tax return and claim all the refunds that you are due. You need 3 things from tax software and these are: a good price (because it is all about saving money), a user friendly layout that covers all aspects of your situation, and lastly expert support for when things get complicated. So here are 10 short reviews of the most popular tax software.
1. H&R Block has a very easy to navigate home page and no confusing ‘use now pay later’ gimmicks. The basic package is free, then there are two other upgrades at $30* and $50*. Customer support looks good too as can be judged from the multiple language options and categories of help in the first place with downloading, installing and printing etc. You can link to a customer support tax advisor when you get into the actual tax content part. The website is intuitive and each page has just enough information and only two main options at the most. H&R Block At Home Online Split Page
2. TurboTax offer their 1040EZ and tax preparation software for free and the more complex your financial affairs the more you will pay for filing software. The Deluxe version for example is $30 (minus 5 cents *) and is for more complex situations such as home-owning and medical claims. Best of all this one updates year on year by importing your last filing. This really saves time as well as ensuring you get all the deductions you are entitled to. TurboTax software for those with investments and rental property costs $50*. While for home and business combined is $75* while the corporate business version is $110*. A confusing thing about TurboTax is the ‘pay when satisfied’ idea. You have to start using your chosen tax software before you can get at the FAQs and presumably pay when you have completed your form. So it’s hard to judge the support and the user friendliness doesn’t start too well.
3. Complete Tax also give their bottom of the range free and prices rise from $15* through $30* to $50* for the most intricate tax situations. The support through FAQs is excellent as is illustrated by the very first one. ‘Which states allow on-line filing?’ There is an alphabetic menu to tell if you are wasting your time or not. They also do the ‘start for free’ thing just like TurboTax. Get Your Maximum Refund with CompleteTax!
4. Filelater is the website to use if you need to extend your tax deadline. There are just two options, one for a tax extension on personal finances at $18* and the other for a business tax extension at $40*. The site explains why and how to do this in simple terms and makes the process easy and reassuring. You end up with an IRS confirmation number when your deadline has been extended. Get a 6 month tax extension , and the IRS doesn’t ask why – it’s automatic!
5. Family Funds Tracker Pro is not strictly tax software rather it helps build a budget with all of your money numbers at your finger tips. It is just one of many free personal budgeting software programs. Track your money in, out and your savings. The very useful feature called ‘’closing out a year’’, is just what you need before filing your tax return. Once you have all of these documents you are ready to go to your online income tax preparation software program and to start entering your information. The program to look for is one that walks you through filling out the information and e-file for you so you can totally manage your return electronically. It’s easy as ABC as long as you have all your documents together.
6. ‘File And Ask’ out of the Tax Treasure website offers 1040 filing for a simple price of $15*. This website also offers an email support facility and the the questions are all in plain English which is a great benefit when it comes to all things tax. So if you have a specific technical question for example on tax charges when you withdraw from your 401k funds you can ask it but be prepared to pay for the answer at $7.99 each.
7. Tax Brain is one of the best income tax software packages. This service not only helps you through your tax return but lets you set up your profile and answer key questions. The software prompts you to enter the right information, completes the forms, then recommends which option is best for you. You can also do your state tax return with Tax Brain’s online tax software. This is probably the most user friendly software for helping you to maximize your return if you aren’t sure exactly which way to go. The cost is $14* if you are doing the basic 1040 EZ.
8. Tax Act Online is fast becoming one of the most used and useful online income tax software programs. From this website you will get a free basic federal tax return and you will only be charged you $14* to do your state tax return if you need to do that. They will also electronically file your return at no extra charge. It is instantaneously with the IRS and confirmed so you don’t have to worry about things lost in the mail.
9. CompleteTax at $30* is among the top services for filing your tax return online. It guides you through the filing process with a straight forward questionnaire. Support comes from all necessary information in the ‘Tax Guide 2007—Get the IRS Tax Help You Need’. CompleteTax has a less than intuitive interface and cannot handle part-year state resident returns.
10. OLT Online Taxes is a good basic online service if you only need to file your return without support. It is the cheapest tax software at $8* each for a State and a Federal return. It is has a limited completion check feature but other services are conspicuous by their absence such as a tax owed or refund measure, tax tips, and ongoing tax support.
Be sure to shop around for the online income tax software that suits you best. Now it’s up to you to gather your receipts and get your money back. Hope this helps save you money!