TurboTax Online Review 2013 Return

We’re in the middle of tax season and one of two major problems is about to happen to every single one of you:

  1. Either you think your taxes are simple so you file the most basic return and miss out on getting a better tax refund, or
  2. You think your taxes are so complicated you spend hundreds of dollars paying a CPA to prepare them for you.

Both situations are costing you money.

Here’s what you need to know: filing your tax return yourself doesn’t have to be complicated, doesn’t have to result in you leaving money on the table, and doesn’t have to take ten hours.

How can you get the best of both worlds?  TurboTax online tax software.

TurboTax is the nation’s best-selling, #1 rated tax software.

The company offers 100% accurate calculations, guarantees you will receive your maximum refund, and provides free audit support in the unlikely event the IRS wants to dig deeper into your tax return.

Let’s dig a little deeper ourselves to see how TurboTax works and what to expect.

TurboTax Online and Mobile App Tax Software Review

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Don’t Be Late! Federal Income Tax Due Dates to File Taxes for 2014

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We’re now into that time the year that accountants and other tax preparers refer to as “tax season.”

For the rest of us it’s panic season.

We scramble to get together our tax documents and hope that we won’t have to pay taxes.

How many of you have filed your return the day it was due?  I’m raising my hand (not easy to type like that).

Stressful, isn’t it?

Add to the stress the fact that not everyone files taxes the same.  Some are individual filers while others file as self-employed.  Corporations file taxes too (and they have a different due date).

But the tax deadlines aren’t all the same in every case.  It’s enough to make your head spin, wondering “when are the tax due dates for my taxes?”

Below you will find Federal Income Tax deadlines for 2014.  Use these due dates to your advantage and plan enough time to prepare your taxes before they are due. Continue Reading

DOMA Goes Down: What Does it Mean for Same-Sex Finances?

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denies federal recognition to same-sex couples is unconstitutional.

Due to the ruling, there are a few things that same-sex couples need to consider as they plan their finances in a post-DOMA world.

First: What the Ruling Doesn’t Do

It’s important to note that the ruling doesn’t force all states to recognize same-sex marriages.  In fact, some rather thorny issues are being raised by the ruling, which essentially says the federal government has to recognize as marriage what a state sees as marriage.  So far, only 13 states plus the District of Columbia recognize same-sex unions.  Here’s a list of the states that currently allow same-sex marriage.

If you live in a state where same-sex marriage is recognized, and you are legally married there, there is no problem.

Things get a little dicey if you are married in a state that recognizes same-sex unions and you live in a state that doesn’t recognize such marriages.  If you are married in New York, where same-sex marriage is legal, but move to Utah, where your marriage isn’t recognized, what happens?

That’s something that hasn’t been worked out yet.
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What Should You Do If You Are Audited?

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It’s the ultimate financial nightmare: What if you are audited?

Many of us live in FEAR of a possible IRS audit.

However, less than 1% of taxpayers are audited each year.

Some audits come because of red flags that the IRS recognizes, and others are simply the result of random chance.  In many cases, all that is needed is for you to mail in some documentation that backs up your claim of a deduction or credit.  Getting an audit letter is no reason to immediately panic.

But there is always the chance that you have to go through a more difficult tax audit.

If that happens, though, you have options:Continue Reading

What is the Earned Income Tax Credit?

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Filing taxes can either be very simple or overly complex.

There are so many exclusions, credits, loopholes, and deductions to know about that it can be easy to miss out on credits that you qualify for simply because the tax system is so complex.  One of those tax credits worth knowing about, especially if you are in a low income bracket, is the EITC or Earned Income Tax Credit.

What is the Earned Income Tax Credit?

Tax credits are great because they are a direct reduction in the amount of tax that you owe.  Tax deductions are good, too, but they simply reduce your income that will then be taxed.

A tax credit like the EITC is much more valuable.  It’s important to find out if you qualify for the EITC, especially if you know that you don’t have significant investment returns or income for the tax year.

The Earned Income Tax Credit is meant for people who are working and have low to moderate income.  The credit is designed to provide incentive to keep working rather than relying on government subsidies.  Part of the goal of the EITC is to offset social security taxes that you pay as you earn an income.  As with many government tax credits and deductions there is some controversy around the support the Earned Income Tax Credit provides for individuals or couples with children. Continue Reading

The 4 Most Common Tax Return Scams and How to Protect Yourself

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It’s tax season which typically means hours gathering your data and slogging through the year’s records

Most don’t look forward to tax season, but the usual tax time headache can get even worse if you’re the unfortunate victim of a tax scam.

Every year, there seems to be more ways scammers find to rob you of your tax refund.  According to CNNMoney, nearly 2/3rds of Americans get a tax refund, and the average refund in 2011 was more than $3,000.

With that kind of money at stake, it’s no wonder scammers continue to find creative ways to get their hands on your cash.

As you prepare to file your taxes this year, be aware of these four common tax return scams:

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New Options for Taking the Home Office Tax Deduction

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Even as you gather your documentation to prepare your 2012 tax return, it’s time to look ahead and begin planning your tax situation for the next tax year.

One of the things to consider as you plan for this year is the new option for taking the home office tax deduction.

There are a number of tax-deductible business expenses that you can claim with your home business.  One of those is a deduction for the cost of the space you are using in your home.

If you plan to take the home office tax deduction, you are required to fill out Form 8829, which consists of 43 lines and can include depreciation and carryovers of deductions you haven’t used.  In some cases, the IRS even acknowledges, figuring the deduction can be a bit complex.  Plus, if you make mistakes on this form, it can red-flag your return for an audit.

Recognizing that home offices are becoming increasingly popular for the growing number of self-employed taxpayers, as well as for telecommuters, the IRS has released an optional method of claiming the home office tax deduction.  It comes into effect this year, in 2013, so you will be able to claim it (if you choose) early next year when filing your 2013 tax return.

New Option for Claiming the Home Office Tax Deduction

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