Filing Federal Taxes
Every year, somebody asks me about how I do my taxes. The short answer is, online. I have been doing my taxes online since my 2nd W-2. My first time was at an H&R block walk-in, and since I made so little money, the guy did it for me for free 🙂 But once I found out they could be done online, and usually free, that’s what I started doing. I’ve only ever filed my federal taxes with two different online tax preparers: TurboTax and H&R Block. They both offer the same kind of services and I’ve never had a problem using either of them. In fact, they both offer lots of help as you do them if you don’t understand what’s what.
For straight taxes, meaning just W-2′s you can use them both for free. Once you start throwing in things like 1099′s and other forms of income, you must upgrade to at least their basic services, which is about 20 bucks (although you can easily find discounts by searching online for coupon codes and links). For instance, I did my federal taxes with H&R Block at Home this year, and since I had income from the sale of stock, I had to use Basic, but I only paid $14.95. Keep in mind that these are not the only two services…there’s lots of them, but they all do the same things and these are the only two I’ve ever found a need to use.
For you ballers out there with all types of income or those of you that want to do itemized deductions and the like when filing taxes, both of these places offer tiers to accommodate you. If for nothing else, you can quickly use these services with no commitment just to see how much you may owe or be owed by the IRS and then take that information to the tax preparer of your choice. You know, some CPA that knows all those semi-legal loopholes 😉
The IRS also offers various suggestions of where you can e-file free: IRS FreeFile
Where’s My Refund?
Surprisingly, a lot of people don’t know that you can also check the IRS site to see the status of your refund (if you’re getting one) – you go to: Where’s My Refund and put in your social, filing status and your refund amount and it will tell you how long before you get it.
Filing State Taxes
When it comes to state taxes…you’re on your own. Most free e-file places charge for doing the state taxes and the prices are pretty hefty across the board. I know that here in Pennsylvania you can file your state taxes for free here: https://padirectfile.state.pa.us/authentication.asp
Check the Dept. of Revenue site for your particular state to see if they offer a similar program. I looked around and saw that there are many states that will let you file for free but with specific restrictions. Then there are a few of you lucky folks whose states don’t even require a state tax filing.
Well, good luck. Hope you get back all that you can. If you can find a kid or two to claim as well, I support you a 100% and if you know of any loopholes, please share 🙂 I’m of the opinion that if we can bail out multi-billion dollar corporations then we can definitely give a little extra back to the average working man. So get that money from Uncle Sam the best way you know how!