Ever since I’ve had to file taxes, I’ve used H&R Block. I’ve blindly handed them all my paperwork, and then handed them a check to file the forms. It was relatively easy to use them… especially during the year my husband had worked in three different states.
In the early years, I had a great preparer – I adored her – but she passed away from cancer a few years ago. The past few years, we’ve been shuffled around at the local H&R Block office, and as our returns have gotten a little more complex (my hubby has some independent contract work), we’ve noticed that we’re paying a LOT more money to have them figure out our taxes. In fact, last year it cost us almost $300.
So after talking to my one of my favorite uncles (who knows me well and who has done his own taxes for years), I was inspired to tackle our taxes myself this year.
There are a lot of options out there to help you figure your own taxes. If your adjusted gross income is less than $54,000 you can file online for free. See the IRS website for a list of programs you can use. This option didn’t work for us this year because I worked for part of the year.
If you are a customer of State Farm Insurance, you can complete your tax forms online for free using Turbo Tax. You must register on the State Farm site to access the free program. (On a side note, you can also download a free year of McAfee antivirus and antispyware software on the website, too).
TaxAct also offers free do-it-yourself online tax prep software.
All of the free options usually have a nominal fee to complete your state return and/or e-file.
Then of course, you can buy your own software (TaxCut and TurboTax are the most popular) at any office supply, electronics, or discount store. The prices range from about $20 to $80. Many stores are offering mail-in rebate deals, free DVDs, free gift cards, and free software with the purchase of these products.
I really struggled with this decision. I was very caught up in the freebie offers. But in the end, I ended up getting H&R Block’s TaxCut Premium edition (federal, state & e-file) at Buy.com. Because I used the Google checkout, I saved $10 on my purchase. I paid $52 total. (most other places had the same software for $70+.
I chose to purchase TaxCut for several reasons. One was the comfort of the familiar. I know H&R Block. I liked that the software comes with some (albeit small) support. Our internet is sometimes spotty when the weather is acting up (we have satellite internet out here in the boonies), so I wasn’t confident about doing something as vital as my tax return in an exclusively online format. I wanted to be able to have something on my computer, that I could use anytime I wanted, regardless of whether the internet was up or not. I don’t get a lot of uninterrupted time at the computer, so I didn’t want to worry about access issues when I did have time. I fear some of the online sites may get more bogged down as it gets closer to April 15.
I know I could have saved more money on this purchase than I did, but when compared to last year’s return, I am saving an incredible amount of money. Heck, even if I paid full price for the software, I’d still be saving a lot of money.
I feel confident that I’ll be able to figure all this stuff out. Just not sure when I’ll get to it just yet. But I’ll let you know how it goes.