Itâ€™s that wonderful time of the year again, Tax Season. It is filled with Americans hoping for a juicy check from the Government, and fearing the wrath of having to dish up more cash. Have you ever wondered if you could do your taxes yourself? Well I am here to tell you most likely, you SHOULD be doing your own taxes. Filing your taxes has never been easier. The online software such as TurboTaxÂ® Online Federal Free Edition lets you file federal taxes online – FREE! and E-File make filing your taxes a breeze.
Deciding If You Can Do It
DO NOT file your own taxes if you are someone who stresses night and day about things. You may cause a panic attack before clicking accept in the beginning steps. There are a lot of steps in filing your own taxes, as well as some questions that may require you to do additional research.
DO NOT file your own taxes if you have more than you can handle. If you have a business, and have no clue about taxes, odds are it may get a bit stressful filing your taxes. If you feel comfortable learning, by all means go for it. If you have multiple investments, investment properties, a dependent due to medical purposes, trusts, and are taking care of estate issues or inheritance, then I may suggest seeking a specialist.
DO FILE your own taxes if your tax situation is somewhat basic. Hereâ€™s an example of a basic situation:
- You had 1-3 jobs in the past year
- You own a home and paid interest on a mortgage and paid property taxes
- You made $100 in interest from your savings
- You made some trades on your investments
- You have a couple dependents (children)
- You are married
- You made contributions to a 401k, IRA, or health savings account
Those are very basic tax situations that are very common and easy to include when filing your taxes. Even if you get into the weeds with some harder situations, the online software asks all the important questions in order to file correctly. Situations that are examples of this are:
- Your child goes to school
- You have investment properties
- You have a small business
- You donated money
- You bought a car
- You sold a home
All of these situations and thousands more are asked when using quality tax software.
So You Decided to File on Your Own
If you decided you want to save a few hundred dollars this tax season, you have a few choices on what software to use. The top three online tax software companies are:
1.Turbo Tax â€“ TurboTaxÂ® Online Federal Free Edition lets you file federal taxes online – FREE! is the king of all tax software. Their software is by far the easiest I have used. They use a roadmap type system that gives you step by step instructions for entering all your information. They also have customer service reps that can be called if needed. To no surprise, they are one of the more expensive to by.
- H&R Block â€“ H&R Block is also very easy to use. They are similar to Turbo Tax, but I prefer Turbo Tax.
- Tax Act â€“ Tax Act takes the third spot. It isnâ€™t difficult to use, but definitely isnâ€™t as streamlined as Turbo Tax. Tax Act is about half the cost of Turbo Tax, which makes it more appealing.
Also, if you made under $57,000 for 2011, the IRS provides a list of online tax software companies that you can use to file your federal taxes free of charge. State taxes will still cost you money to file.
If you have decided to file your taxes on your own, prepare yourself for some research. You will become familiar with the IRS website, which isnâ€™t a bad thing. Make sure to gather up ALL of your documents, and understand that you can be penalized if you do things wrong. Donâ€™t stress too much though, it’s not rocket science.