Filing Tax Returns Online – a Comprehensive Guide to Services

Are you tired of filing your taxes through an accountant or a costly tax return filing service? You can save money and increase your personal financial knowledge by filing online. Typically, people are afraid to file their tax returns online for fear that they will make a mistake or overlook a deduction, resulting in costly errors. However, many people simply need to educate themselves about the online services available in order to feel more secure about filing their tax returns themselves. Most online tax return filing services today offer full filing services with step-by-step walk-through of all deductions available. With a little patience, you can easily complete your own tax return without paying costly consultant or accountant fees. Here is a listing of some well established online services that will enable you to take better control of your taxes.

H & R Block (www.hrblock.com) is a very popular firm that specializes in tax preparation. While you can visit one of their many locations, exploring their online programs may help you to see it as a feasible option for you. The three basic options from H & R Block include TaxCut Online EZ, TaxCut Online Premium, and TaxCut Online Signature. TaxCut Online EZ is specifically geared toward individuals who are able to file a 1040EZ form for their federal income tax return. These services, along with all of their services, offer a 100% accurate calculations guarantee and a step-by-step interview to guide you through your return. TaxCut Online EZ is the most basic and simple process and currently is priced around $6.00 for federal income tax return filing. TaxCut Online Premium is the next available option, currently priced at $20.00. This service includes all of the same features as the basic product but also includes a free consultation with a tax advisor, advanced tax assistance tools, and audit support in the event that your taxes are audited. Finally, TaxCut Online Signature includes all features listed above, along with unlimited sessions with a tax advisor, a maximum refund guarantee, and an interactive video library that allows you to access information about tax laws and how they affect you. This service is more extensive and, therefore, a little more costly at around $80.00. Overall, this well-known and trusted company provides a great service at reasonable costs. Also, the availability of live help is a definite bonus if you are having problems with any area of your tax refund filing. The website is easy to navigate and very informative, in general, so most questions you have can be easily located on a FAQ page or by contacting a customer support representative.

Another popular online tax refund filing company is TurboTax (www.turbotax.com). This company also offers three tiers of service, 1040EZ, Deluxe, and Premier. The 1040EZ option is priced at approximately $10.00 and offers basic 1040EZ filing to those who are eligible. A question and answer format allows for quick entry of your tax return data and calculations are completed for you automatically. The Deluxe product offers the same features as the 1040EZ product and also includes a deduction finder and other features which help you to maximize your refund. This product is currently priced at approximately $20.00. TurboTax Premier online tax refund filing is priced at $40.00. All of the above features are included and additional features consist of extra assistance with claiming investment income for 401k plans, IRAs and more. Additionally, Schedule C filing is enabled for this product helping you to calculate and report business asset depreciation and various other business deductions. Tips for correctly reporting rental property revenues are also included in this package. Demos and free trials are available for all of these products on their website. Online live customer service chats are available at scheduled times and telephone assistance is available for a fee. On the whole this product is inclusive but may not be quite as comprehensive and cost-effective as others for the features included with the first two package levels. However, the level three Premier package is quite a deal if you have business and rental data to report.

All of the prices quoted above are for federal online tax refund filing only. State filing will offer the same features but will include additional fees. Generally, the fees for online state filing are between $15.00 and $25.00. Also, many online tax return filing services offer free federal income tax filing for low-income families and individuals. If you think you might qualify, you should visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov to locate a free service.

Turnaround time for receiving your refund will vary based upon the options you choose and the complexity of your return. For relatively simple returns that are e-filed and direct deposited, you can expect your tax refund in eight to fourteen days from the date of acceptance by the IRS. If you e-file and opt to have a check mailed to you, the wait time will increase to four to six weeks. When mailing your return, a direct deposit should appear within four weeks and for a check return you should allow six to eight weeks. Regardless of the online tax refund filing product you use, always be sure to collect all of your information before you begin in order to ensure a smooth process and a correct refund.

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