Sunday, February 20, 2011

Save money during tax season

It's everyone's favorite time of year---tax season. Depending on your situation, it can be quite cumbersome, or quite simple.  Regardless, you can take away some of the sting by filing your tax returns using free, or low cost software.  Here are some options:

1.IRS e-file, which is available to everyone.  Click here for more details.  The link also directs you to a page where you might be eligible to file for free.  The "gottcha" is that if you want to file state returns, that will likely cost a few bucks.

2.Linked on the e-file site are several IRS approved tax software programs, web and software based.  I use Taxactonline as it is user-friendly, keeps data from previous years' returns (which saves re-keying information), seamlessly integrates with state tax return preparation, and points out ways where you can save money on your taxes.

3.If you itemize deductions, write off tax preparation services on Form 1040, Schedule A.  It is a legitimate write off to deduct how much you paid for tax preparation.  Your individual situation may vary, however, if you don't normally itemize.

4.Coupon codes for tax software.  As with any purchase, check to see if there are any discounts for tax software.  One example, Taxslayer.com, has a coupon code on Retail Me Not for new customers.  There are many others, too.

Regardless of the options, file your taxes by April 18, 2011.