Tag Archives: Tax preparation

TurboTax Introduces TurboTax Deluxe

Intuit has played around a bit more with TurboTax 2014, and has done things such as making fonts and graphics bigger. The TurboTax support page has also been replaced, with what is known as the TurboTax AnswerXchange.

TaxAct

Users returning will find that their 2014 taxes are easier to do because the data that has moved over, and there is even a personal guide to the Affordable Care Act.

TurboTax 2014 Introduces TurboTax Deluxe

TurboTax Chat Community Overloaded On Tax Day (Photo credit: John Swords)

An Easy Walk-Through
The software searches through more than 350 deductions and credits, which can help you claim everything that is allowed according to the tax code set forth by the IRS.

TurboTax Deluxe, as well as its competitors take your information, which you provide, and then it does the required deductions. It also drops your answers into the correct fields on IRS schedules and forms. All of this goes on in the background, and all you need to do is click buttons in order to move forward and back.

Navigation That Is Top-Notch
The navigation is top-notch, and you will find that navigating TurboTax Deluxe is easy. Your federal review is divided up into three sections, with the first two being Wages & Income and Deductions and Credits. The third section is Other Tax Situations. You will find that navigating through each section is a breeze.

You will also be pleased to know that there are other ways that you can navigate the site. You will notice that four links opens when you click on the tools icon, which is located to the left side. You will be able to look for a topic in a list that is very lengthy, or you can arrange the list in alphabetical order. All you need to do is click on the topic of your choice. Once you have done this, you will be taken to that screen. Another thing you can do is create a flag for a specific page, and this will remind you that you need to go back to the page and fill some information in. The fourth link that is available for you to click on displays all of your fees.

TurboTax Deluxe allows you to move forward and backwards, which is something that H&R Block Deluxe does not allow you to do. Their software requires you to finish a screen before you can move on to the next screen. Once you think you have entered everything that you were required to enter, TurboTax, as well as its competitors, will review your return, and if there were any errors or omissions that you have made, then you will know about it, but they will be revealed one at a time. TurboTax Deluxe only shows you the relevant portion of an schedule or form, and then you will be provided with a field where you can input your answer.

Connecting With Tax Experts Via Video Conference

Tax preparation help at the library

Tax preparation help at the library (Photo credit: Newton Free Library)

Filing your income taxes is one of those necessary evils that nobody looks forward to. It’s a time consuming, highly detailed process that typically requires several hours of your attention. Luckily, in today’s digital world, filing your taxes doesn’t have to be such a headache. Thanks to advances in technology, you can now work with an accountant to file your taxes from the comfort of your own home. There are a couple of different options for electronic filing that help you to save time and money when you’re doing your income taxes.

Virtual accounting

Let’s face it: we’re all busy and sometimes we just don’t have the time to sit through an hours-long appointment with a tax preparer. When you add in the time spent commuting across town and finding parking, in-person meetings can really start to add up. A number of firms out there that now offer virtual income tax preparation. Some even provide online drop off service, so that you can simply send all of your tax documents in electronically without ever setting foot in a physical office. Nothing is more convenient than that.

You can either choose to work with a large tax preparation service like H&R Block, or an accountant in your area that offers virtual tax preparation services. It’s simply a personal choice based on your comfort level and preferences. Either route you choose, it’s likely you will need to have some face time with your accountant. This can be done in a few different ways. The most common way to connect is through video conferencing that’s done via the web. Some accountants will also connect with you over the phone or through a chat feature that is offered on their website.

Scheduling time to talk via video conference, phone, or live chat ensures that your taxes will be prepared according to your needs and preferences. Generally, filing your income taxes virtually requires a simple conversation at the beginning of the process in order to hammer out necessary details before your accountant gets down to the nitty-gritty of doing your taxes. You then converse by email or phone if there are questions during the process or after the return has been prepared.

Tax preparation software

An estimated 81% of people in the United States filed their taxes electronically last year. While virtual accountants are starting to become more prevalent, it’s likely that the bulk of these individuals used tax preparation services to simplify the filing process. Tax preparation software has seen a surge in popularity over the past decade, with the development of popular programs like TurboTax by Intuit which allow you to complete the filing process online from start to finish.

The program’s popularity is largely attributed to its convenience. TurboTax provides an inexpensive, easy to follow, and convenient solution for filing your income taxes. You can simply download the software or purchase it at a nearby store, run it on your computer and begin entering information from your W-2s and other tax forms. It simplifies the deduction process by taking you step by step through common (and uncommon) tax deductions. Generally, the software helps to maximize your return because it covers all the bases with tax deductions.

If you don’t finish doing your taxes on TurboTax in one sitting, you can always come back to them. The program saves your progress online or on your computer, so you can simply pick up where you left off. Once you’ve completed your tax returns, you can file with the click of a button and opt to receive your refund electronically, or via paper check in the mail. You can also pay your taxes electronically if you end up owing money. It’s a highly convenient solution with little margin for error, and a great choice if you are not particularly confident in your skills when you’re filing taxes on paper.

Thanks to today’s technology, there are a few great ways to minimize the hassle of filing your income taxes, including Intercall’s virtual events and other tech options. If you would like to explore a more convenient solution for filing, look into options for virtual accounting or consider purchasing tax preparation software to simplify the process. Tax software will save you a lot of time and potential frustration!

The 5 Biggest Differences Between Tax Preparers And Tax Attorneys

Money

There’s an accounting joke (yes, they exist) that goes like this:

Q: What is a CPA?

A: It’s someone who solves a problem you didn’t know you had in a way you don’t understand.

Even if that joke doesn’t make you laugh, it does contain an interesting bit about the necessity of a tax professional.  The IRS certainly isn’t your friend, but it also isn’t your enemy. It is an organization operating on a mind-numbing system of complexities, the kind most people just aren’t cut out to navigate. The truth is, if you have a business of any size, you need professional help with your taxes. This comes in the form of tax preparers, enrolled agents, CPAs and tax attorneys.

If you’re as confused by the line-up as me, here’s a little clarity on the biggest differences between the bottom and top of the totem pole.

 

1.     Education:

Tax preparers are trained in the general structure of tax returns. The majority of preparers are educated by whatever franchise they work at (H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, Liberty Tax Service). Independent preparers may attend tax preparer courses, but no formal training is needed to start a practice.

Tax attorneys must obtain a specialized law degree.  Beyond the basic degree, many tax attorneys obtain a Master of Laws degree in taxation as well as a mandatory Juris Doctor degree. In addition to this rigorous education, specialized courses are required covering advanced topics in business taxation. Many tax attorneys also have experience as certified public accountants.

 2.     Certification:

Anyone can become a tax preparer. On Jan. 18, 2013, the District Court put a stop to IRS requirements for registered tax return preparers to complete competency testing or secure continuing education. In fact, all it takes to offer the public service of tax preparation is the acquisition of a preparer tax identification number (PTIN), which costs all of $64.25.

Tax attorneys must pass the state bar.  After completing the years-long process of law school, tax attorneys must pass the bar exam of whichever state they wish to practice in.

3.     What they can do for you:

Tax preparers are capable of assisting you with basic, straightforward tax returns. If you have no special needs or complications involved in your taxes then a tax preparer is a good call. Whatever choice you make, be sure to ask about the full extent of your tax professional’s capabilities.

Tax attorneys can navigate your tax needs at every possible level. If you run a business and require assistance with complicated tax matters, or need year-round accounting, the seasoned tax attorney is your best bet.  They’ll keep you from getting in trouble with the IRS by guiding you through your finances before tax season and/or representing you in front of the U.S. Tax Court if that’s necessary.

4.     Who should hire them: 

Tax preparers are appropriate help for anyone with an ordinary tax structure.  The ideal client of a tax preparer is an individual with run-of-the-mill tax needs who forgoes the option to fill out taxes themselves. A small business without complicated tax structure can use them also, but it is advisable to seek a more experienced professional. It’s worth noting that chain tax services like H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, or Liberty Tax Service employ people with varying levels of experience, and it’s a good idea to ask if any CPAs are employed there. If the answer is yes, request to work with them.

Tax attorneys are the choice for anyone with intricate tax needs, or issues with the IRS. If you get audited by the IRS or owe an excessive amount of money ($10,000 or more) you should seek the help of a tax attorney. It’s a good to be proactive and hire a tax attorney for management of a more involved account where a traditional accountant will not suffice. This would include businesses with payroll, international business or estate planning. One option is to turn to a company like Burkett, Burkett and Burkett that staffs experienced CPAs and tax attorneys. These kinds of firms benefit from the shared experience of a group.

 5.     What they will cost:

Tax preparers charge in a number of different ways, but are generally affordable. From independent preparers to franchise services, methods of billing range from flat fees to hourly and scaled fees by level of complexity. The average 2012 price for H&R Block was $192 per return where Liberty Tax Service averaged $173.

Tax attorneys are costly.  We all know that hiring a lawyer is going to cost and a tax lawyer is no exception. You will more than likely be charged an hourly rate and can expect to see them ranging from a few hundred dollars to $1,000 or more per hour.  This is obviously what puts such an emphasis on hiring the right kind of professional. If you don’t require complicated tax services, you may be able to get by with a tax preparer or certified public accountant. However, don’t make the mistake of cutting corners in a situation where potential consequence so greatly outweighs the savings.

Important Tax Filing Tips

Legal research

Legal research (Photo credit: gwilmore (I HATE THE NEW LAYOUT!))

Between January 1 and the end of the first month of the year, most people will find themselves with a variety of tax forms showing up in the mail. From W-2s to financial aid documents for school, just keeping track of all of the information can be a difficult task in and of itself. It isn’t difficult to understand why people often put off filing their taxes until the very last minute, but the job does not have to be as frustrating as most of us let it become. In fact, a lot of people would probably be pleasantly surprised to find out just how easy and convenient filing taxes can be if they follow a few simple guidelines.

Tips For Filing Taxes

Filing taxes isn’t a fun time for many people. Accountants and people who love numbers might have fun with it at first, but even they get bored with it after awhile. It can be hard to stay focused and file your taxes correctly if you aren’t sure of what you are doing. No one wants to pay someone a fortune to help them with their tax paperwork, either, so it can be hard to figure out where to go. Here are some helpful tips that can get you through this tax season and help you into next season, as well.

-Make sure that you pay all of your back taxes or anything that you owe. It might seem like you can just wait until the money comes around again, but the more returns you file with an outstanding balance, the higher your penalties and interest will go.

-If you use online programs, check and double check them for yourself. If your taxes are too complicated to do manually, use two programs to ensure that they both arrive at the same refund or amount owed. It’s important to make sure that the forms are accurate.

-Don’t file online if you haven’t filed other years of taxes. Your return will get flagged in the system and the IRS actually won’t let you file it if you have outstanding returns. Just print it out, mail it in, and wait.

-Use free file programs when you can. Choose companies that are reputable and that actually have free e-filing. They shouldn’t come up with hidden charges or wait until the end to tell you that it’s only free if you do this or that. Just find what’s free. That’s it.

-If you need tax help, ask now instead of later. Getting ahead of the game can make it easier for you to get back on track. Ask for the help that you need with filing so that you can get your taxes in order and get more out of your returns. There’s no shame in asking for help.

Importance Of Taxes

Make sure that you put these tips to work for filing your taxes this year, no matter what you are dealing with. It’s important to stay on top of things and get the help that you need out of your tax services, no matter what you have in mind. Use the resources that are available because they make taxes much less intimidating and can be helpful in keeping you on track. That’s the least that you deserve when it comes to your taxes, no matter what your situation might be.

The Community Manager of www.MyReviewsNow.net website, Stephanie Frasco, wrote this post about filing taxes.

Top Tax Scams To Avoid With Turbo Tax

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Top Tax Scams To Avoid With Turbo Tax 2013

Using Turbo Tax 2013 is a good way to avoid tax scams in the first place, seeing as how you can e-file your paperwork with confidence that it will go directly to the IRS. However, there are people who will try to catch you in a scam this year, so you need to know what to watch out for. You should use www.TurboTax.com to gather information about filing your taxes correctly, in a safe manner, so these scams do not affect you.

Paying taxes is required for both citizens and...

Paying taxes is required for both citizens and non-citizens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  1. Email Scams
    Even if you have already used Turbo Tax 2013 and www.TurboTax.com to file your taxes, you could get an email saying that you are going to be given a second tax return. The email will look official, even down to the IRS logo, and it will state that you just need to resubmit your information to get the extra money. Do not respond to this email, because the information will really be used for identify theft.
  2. Tax Preparers
    If you decide not to use Turbo Tax 2013 and www.TurboTax.com, you might have to hire a tax preparer to file your taxes for you. Be very careful about what papers you sign. Some preparers will have you sign over your entire return so that they get to keep it instead of you, and, since you signed the documents, this is totally legal.
  3. Fake Charities
    You can claim all of the money that you give to charity as a tax write-off when you file with Turbo Tax 2013. However, make sure that you are not donating to a fake charity, which will simply steal your money as you attempt to save on your taxes.
  4. Grant Scams
    After you file with Turbo Tax 2013, you might get a call from a fake IRS agent, telling you that you need to provide you bank account into to get a grant. This is a scam to steal money directly from the bank.

Protect yourself this year. Learn all that you can about scams, and then use www.TurboTax.com to avoid them. With a little research, you can protect your identity and your money.