Model: Freedom Edition
Cost: Free within guidelines, $14.95 for state for some, see site for details
I know this is late for this year, but maybe it'll help someone next year. In my sighted days I regularly filed my taxes myself using the IRS's free e-file program, but hadn't tried it since I became blind. This year I decided to take the chance. Our return isn't that complicated, why shouldn't I do it myself?
I'd seen TV ads for Turbo-Tax Freedom Edition. Since the other free-file program wouldn't work with my screen-reader, I decided to try Turbo-Tax Freedom Edition to file my taxes this year.
Pros: Easy to use, works with my screen-reader
Cons: My state wasn't on the list to qualify to simultaneously file my state taxes free. Using Turbo-Tax would cost just $14.95, but that was money I didn't want to spend.
The bottom line:Turbo-Tax is formatted as an interview, so directions and questions are very easy to understand and follow. If you know your way around paperwork and can follow directions, this software is for you. The only help I needed was in reading the information from the 1099s we had, and Turbo-Tax made it so easy, even my "form-o-phobic" hubby was able to read one of them for me. (My poor screen-reader just can't handle all those boxes.)
I started out at the IRS official site and initially used it as a gateway.
The software allowed me to backtrack, double and triple check myself, and even alerted me when one form just wasn't entered correctly. In the end, I deleted the thing and re-entered it. Then the software checked again to make sure I was getting all the deductions for which I qualified, and pointed out a new one I hadn't heard of before - the "Make Work Pay" credit.
I was told to expect word within 48 hours that the IRS had either accepted or rejected my return. However, I got word within an hour. The IRS accepted my return, yay! Now all I have to do is mail the paper copy I printed, along with a check or money order for the little I owe for this year. Oh, and I'll start my state return tomorrow, lol! I wonder if they'll look over my 2009 return? Hmm. . .
Thanks to Turbo-Tax's thoroughness and guaranteed results, my 2010 tax liability was minimal and I know I have backup in the unlikely event something should go wrong. Thanks, Turbo-Tax!
Source: TV ads and the IRS website, http://www.irs.gov
By JustPlainJo from Springfield, OH
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Louel53, how awful! I admit, I got some pretty hefty refunds thanks to the Earned Income Credit when my five kids all lived at home, but those darn tax preparers had to have their money up front, the greedy bloodsuckers. (Apologies to the few honorable tax prep pros.) That's why I taught myself to do my own. May not work for everyone, though - I've always been an autodidact... a self-taught person.
I use Turbo Tax in Canada. Here we do not have to send in a paper return at all. I have used this company for regular returns for several years, and have been very pleased. I have my adult children and a couple of friends use my program as we can do up to 20 returns. It is very user friendly, and doesn't miss any deductions or savings if you have done your homework. I think a person should still read the guide that comes with a paper return to prepare for taxes if you have anything interesting.
BTW, I was able to find tax savings for my son's friend that had been overlooked when he paid a tax preparer to do it. In his case, he paid a hefty fee for incomplete service. Another time, a student of mine paid a tax preparer $50 to get a refund of $12! not all tax preparers are worth their price.
Daredams... I expected a liability due to the self-employed for tax purposes thing. But what works for one may not be for everyone, I realize and respect that.
I used TurboTax last year and found it very slow and not as user-friendly as I'd hoped for. Glad to hear they improved.
I used eSmartTax by Complete Tax from CCH this year and liked it very much. (CCH is a legal publishing company and I find them very trustworthy).
Very quick and thorough and very user-friendly. And you don't have to send anything in to the IRS if you use a PIN. I also filed my state tax return with them for $19.95, and it was worth it to get it done quickly and accurately. I also got confirmation quickly from the IRS and my state.
My husband does income taxes and has since 1975. I would caution people about using this, there are a lot of deductions, etc. that most people don't know about. On several occasions people had tried it themselves and came to him and he was able to secure them refunds. Be cautious. He uses a program for tax preparers. An old adage - You get what you pay for.
Hope it helps someone, even if you have to file it away until next year. I've had one person suggest I start helping others next year... what do you think?
Congratulations Jo! Really good product review, and if I were filing taxes, I'd give Turbo Tax atry.
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