It’s finally here, 2007, a brand New Year filled with lots of brand new possibilities, so much so, that I just can’t wait to see what wonderful things are yet to come. I am like Saint Paul in the bible; I am pressing towards the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ and I am not looking back. However, there is one thing that we all have no choice but to look back upon and as much as we want to ignore it, we simply can’t and are even required by law to recap and compile. Have you guessed what that “one thing” is? Yes, it’s that time again people; it’s time to file our TAXES!
Yes, with every New Year comes the preparation of the dreaded taxes. I refer to them as dreaded taxes because there was a time when I had to compile and file my own taxes and it was not a pretty sight. I had receipts and notes and yellow post it sticky things everywhere. I remember about 5 years ago, a couple of my colleagues stopped by my home office to bring me a few pieces of documentation that I needed in order to complete my tax preparation and when I opened the door with my floral robe and grey sweats on; they just stood there and stared at me and after I took the pencils out of my hair, they looked at each other and asked in unison “Is Karen home”? After we all had a good laugh, I told them this was my tax preparation uniform and it had served me well over the years.
The following year my associates introduced me to my own personal accountant who has saved me hours of personal frustration and kept me off the worst dressed list. Although, I did have to learn to keep better records, it was much easier for me to hand over my records and allow the professionals to do what they do best. When I prepared my own taxes I would have to research the new tax laws each year to find out what changes had taken place. There were some years that I ran into issues because I found conflicting information on the internet and would have to stop what I was doing and follow up with the IRS directly to insure I was filing my taxes properly. If any of you have ever had to call the IRS, you know that what you thought would be a 10 minute conversation can turn into a 45 minute to an hour long event. Not only does hiring a tax professional save you time, it can save you a ton of money as well.
This month I will be highlighting 3 specific resources to consider when filing your 2006 income taxes (Turbo Tax, HR Block and Liberty Tax Service) Today, let’s take a look at filing Online with Turbo Tax. I heard about TurboTax last year from one of my marketing specialist who told me that she had filed online and the instructions were easy and she received her refund in less than 2 weeks. It intrigued me, so I looked into this program, but with me running two businesses and owning investment property and housing Katrina victims, my tax preparation was a little more complicated than I was willing to handle on my own at that time, so I went to my tax professional and let them do what they are paid to do.
Turbo Tax offers the following:
Basic Federal Tax Filing Service – $14.95 plus extra charge to file State return. The system prompts you with questions that help you fill out a complete 1040. This is a basic form for people that do not have mortgage interest, medical or other deductions to file. It reminds me of the EZ form offered by the IRS.
Deluxe Federal Tax Filing Service – $29.95 plus extra charge to file State return. This package allows you to file mortgage interest, donations, education and medical expenses. This is a great way to go if you have multiple itemizations to file.
Premier Federal Tax Filing Service – $49.95 plus extra charge to file State return. The system will navigate you through how to file your 1040 form and other more complicated investments such as stocks, bonds and the sale of mutual funds. This is also a great program to for people who own 1 or more rental properties.
Home & Business (Schedule C) – $74.95 – plus additional costs to file State return. This package is for small business owners that are considered sole proprietors, 1099 contractors, consultants and single owner LLC’s. The prompts are easy to follow as long as you have all of your information on hand such as cancelled checks, credit cards payments or 1099 forms and any other business related expense.
Turbo Tax also offers online help should you have questions regarding any stage of your tax preparation. Turbo Tax is cost effective, fast and efficient. Log on to www.turbotax.com and go Turbo this year.