To the never-ending list of “two types of people in this world,” add “Those Who Files Their Taxes Early” and “Those Who File Their Taxes Late.” You’ll know exactly who falls into the latter category. Most local news stations feature a live report from the post office on April 15 with several folks scrambling to fill out their final forms and lick those stamps before midnight.
There has to be a better way, right? Actually, there are several easy-to-use options for filing your taxes cheaply. Any chance you have to save money when the word “taxes” is involved is a good thing.
Consider these programs:
TurboTax is fast and easy because it is turbo. At least, that is how the extensive marketing campaign positions this simple tax filing option. The key word here is “simple,” a term that must apply to your filing itself. You can use TurboTax to file the 1040A/1040EZ forms for free.
The caveats are that you need to have made less than $100K, you’re not taking any deductions, you don’t own a home, you didn’t score any stock market trades and your medical expenses are zilch. Although the filing fee won’t cost, the program itself comes with charges starting at around $54 for the basic package. Still, that’s a lot cheaper than hiring an accountant!
Free File Alliance
The Free File Alliance is a tax filing system that was generated by the IRS. It is for people who have made less than $62K, which counts for around 70 percent of the population. The alliance here allows you to pick from a variety of software programs to help you file your state and federal taxes. This is a lot better than rifling through blank forms at the Post Office. Cost for the software: Zippo. You can’t beat zippo.
How complicated are your tax returns? If the answer is “not at all,” then you could file your taxes from your smartphone with TaxAct. This app works both for iPhones and Android users. Again, this is for those filers with little to no deductions.
You can also use an app to check on your refund status and have that money deposited directly onto an American Express Serve Card. Technically, you could switch from posting pictures of your cat on Instagram to filing your taxes without missing a beat. Just watch where you’re walking!
eSmart Tax is part of Liberty Tax’s online setup. Think of them as a no-frills, streamline version of H.R. Block. Through eSmart Tax, families can file using a program that only costs $14.95. Included in that nominal fee is free chat support. As an added bonus, you can import your previous returns to help make the filing process go smoother. There’s nothing wrong with copying from yourself.
TaxSlayer offers a tax filing software program for as little as $12.99. This is a program that is catered to those folks who are taking deductions. It’s also great for anyone who is self-employed. TaxSlayer features an extensive database of FAQs that can help walk you through the filing process.
Clearly, there is no need for the late-night sessions involving the clacking of calculators. Although there is a bit of learning curve involved with any of these programs, you’ll have the benefit of years of practical experience. In other words, all the bugs for these tax-filing programs have been worked out and they make it easy for you to get the job done. Won’t it feel great to hit “send” on your tax returns?