Friday, April 1, 2011

Tax Prep for Less

I was on the phone with a friend, checking if her daughter could baby-sit for us so we could go to our appointment with our accountant sans kids. My friend asked me if I have ever tried to do our own taxes online. She said that the software these programs use is much like what the accountants use, except you don't have to pay the accountant (which, in our experience, has added up to a fairly hefty sum). You can try the program, entering information as prompted, and it does all the calculations for you. You can even see your current refund amount, or what you would owe, as you go along.

At the end, you can preview your return and choose whether to submit it using the online service. By that point, I had already done all the work (with the software's help, of course!), so I felt like this year--as much as we like him--our accountant's help was an unnecessary expense. Besides, this way I am in control of when our return gets filed, which also means we can get our refund sooner than being dependant upon the accountant's schedule of when he could get to it.

The online site my friend recommended is TaxAct Online (although I'm sure there are others and this is not an official endorsement for them). You can file for free, but I opted to use the deluxe version (which is what my friend recommended too), and it was $9.95. Would I do it again next year? Absolutely. If you ever run into trouble (although the questions prompt you through everything clearly), you can email in a question for help from an online tax advisor with the service, or you could always consult with an accountant or decide to go see him or her after all.

If you haven't filed your taxes yet, and want to save on accountant's fees, I encourage you to try TaxACT!

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