Do-It-Yourself Income Taxes

  If you’ve been considering doing your income taxes on your own, now’s the perf

If you’ve been considering doing your income taxes on your own, now’s the perfect time to venture in to the world of do-it-yourself tax software. Tax software programs such as TurboTax and TaxCut make doing your taxes a snap.

These programs are inexpensive and contain everything you need to file your taxes. They have updating features where they connect to the internet and check for the latest tax laws. Each state is covered so no matter where you live, you’ll receive the appropriate tax information.

The beauty of using these programs is that each year you can import the prior year’s information which is a huge time saver. When you purchase both the federal and state versions, much of the duplicate information is copied over saving you even more time and reducing the chance of errors. In addition, you can file your taxes electronically and get your refund faster than ever before. You can even have the refund direct deposited into your bank account.

Most tax programs such as TaxCut by H&R Block use an intuitive “interview” format. You are asked questions for each phase of the filing. Based on your answers, the software prepares the necessary IRS forms for you. Simply answer the questions, print the forms, sign and mail. Or choose the e-filing option for a speedier refund.

When using TaxCut you start by entering your personal information such as your name, address and Social Security Number. Each screen is clear and easy to navigate, buttons along the bottom make navigating the program extra easy. You can click “back”, “help me” or “next”.

Each section is broken down into further sub-sections and start with detailed instructions and a list of documents you should have available for reference. For example, in TaxCut you have five basic sections: Welcome, Federal, State, File and Plan. Under the Federal section you have sub-sections such as personal, dependents, income, adjustments, deductions, credits, taxes, miscellaneous, finish and review.

As you complete each section, a handy progress list is automatically updated. You can see at a glance which sections you’ve completed and which sections you have yet to work on. You can filter this list to view the items in numerous ways. For instance, you can view the list of all tasks by items that still need to be done, items that are in progress, items that are completed and items that may need your attention.

The help files are extremely handy. You can read detailed instructions, view videos, see frequently asked questions, read tax tips and advice, view IRS instructions, view state-specific instructions and more. You can even ask a tax advisor a question for an additional fee.

Another neat feature is a box along the top that shows how much you owe or can expect as a refund. These numbers adjust as you work your way through the interview but once complete you can see at a glance just what your tax liability is.

Depending on your tax situation, you can choose from several different levels of software. Most tax software programs have varying levels such as basic, deluxe and premium. You can even use an online version of these software programs.