By Christina DesMarais for Techlicious
It’s tax time again and I’ve selected the best tax preparation software offerings and will walk you through how they’ve changed since last year. These solutions have a healthy list of improvements that not only make doing your taxes easier, but will help you to get back or hold onto as much money as possible. Here’s what to expect:
Best Value: TaxACT
This is a popular choice with taxpayers because TaxACT gives you a plethora of options. You can use its online platform to compile and file your taxes, download the software or receive it via CD-ROM in the mail. TaxACT is a little different than some other tax preparation software vendors on the market. First, their free federal version covers more than just simple returns and to put together a state return it’s only $14.95, which is at least half of what you’ll usually pay elsewhere.
It’s also cheaper in other ways: If you use the Deluxe online platform it’s only $9.95 for federal returns and another $8 for state returns. And you can play around with it online for free since you don’t have to pay for it until you print or e-file. For a breakdown of the different pricing options, visit TaxACT. Enhancements since last year include:
Quick Convert – This is a fast way to import data from last year, even if it’s from another software solution. Based on a new user’s answers to a couple questions, TaxACT helps them either import data from a PDF of last year’s return prepared by 11 various software solutions or bring in key data from a printed copy of last year’s return.
It Works on iPad – TaxACT Online 2011 Free Federal Edition, Deluxe and State are iPad Compatible.
Answer Center – This is a place where you can get free personalized tax help whether you have a specific tax question, are looking for a certain part of your return or need help with TaxACT.
Education and Retirement Tax Guides – The Deluxe tier includes printable explanations of tax issues related to education and retirement, including deductions and credits.
TaxACT Bookmarks – This feature isn’t new but was improved and lets you add a bookmark and notes to a certain part of your return and come back to it later.
More Business State Editions and e-filing options – With the addition of AZ, IA, and MO, TaxACT now offers 1065 and 1120S editions for 19 states, and 1120 editions for 18 states. It also now supports e-filing for most business returns for CA, FL, GA, IL, KS, MD, NY (including New York City), and WI.
TaxACT Central – This is a free app for iPhone and Android that provides mobile access to time and money-saving information such as an interactive tax return checklist with forms and information needed to prepare your taxes, a Help Center with free answers to common tax and technical questions and the current status of your federal and state returns after e-filing.
This post is excerpted with permission from Techlicious.