What To Look For In Online Tax Prep And Filing Software

What To Look For In Online Tax Prep And Filing Software



What to​ Look for in​ Online Tax Prep and Filing Software
You may have a​ less taxing time this April if​ you​ let computer software do much of​ the​ hard work filing with the​ IRS.
You won't be alone .​
According to​ IRS data,​ more than 68 million tax returns were filed electronically last year,​ with more than 17 million taxpayers filing their own returns online .​
There are a​ number of​ benefits that online tax prep and e-filing offer but you​ should do a​ little bit of​ homework first to​ get the​ greatest value for your dollar,​ said Debra Gray,​ tax software manager for CCH.
According to​ Gray,​ some of​ the​ questions you​ should look to​ answer are:
Is the​ software easy and secure?
Online software can save time because you​ don't have to​ download it​ to​ your computer .​
Make sure,​ however,​ the​ program is​ easy to​ navigate,​ helps you​ organize your information and provides the​ support resources you​ need to​ complete your return,​ as​ well as​ encrypting your data using recognized security standards.
Can you​ work at​ your own pace?
Online tax preparation sites let you​ password protect your work,​ logging back in​ as​ often as​ you​ need .​
Make certain the​ program also automatically checks for errors or​ oversights and provides links to​ the​ problems for quick correction of​ potentially costly mistakes .​
What becomes of​ your return after you​ file?
Make sure the​ program maintains a​ record of​ your prior year's return,​ so you​ can roll over basic information from one year to​ the​ next.
Does it​ clearly show the​ cost of​ preparing and filing your returns?
Navigating the​ add-on pricing structure used by some tax software providers can be taxing in​ itself,​ with some promoting a​ federal price or​ free federal filing but not clearly indicating added costs for completing a​ state tax return .​
According to​ Gray,​ most do-it-yourself taxpayers should be able to​ find a​ good tax program for under $40,​ including costs for preparing both a​ federal and state return and e-filing the​ returns.
What are the​ payment and refund options?
Many sites let you​ deduct the​ cost of​ using their program from your expected tax refund and allow direct deposit of​ your refund into your bank account,​ for even faster access to​ your refund .​
What are the​ help and support options?
Ideally,​ the​ program should be straightforward but you​ will want this safety net,​ so make sure the​ tax program offers support features via e-mail or​ live online chat .​
Taxpayers who have been trying to​ complete their returns using pencil and paper or​ have been frustrated by the​ tax software programs they've used in​ the​ past,​ really owe it​ to​ themselves to​ take a​ look at​ the​ features available in​ online tax software this year,​ said Gray .​
Preparing taxes isn't how most people want to​ spend their time,​ but if​ they're using the​ right tools,​ they can save time completing their returns online .​
As an​ added bonus,​ they will likely learn a​ few things that can help them save even more on​ their taxes this year and beyond.




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