When it comes to doing my taxes I’m a real procrastinator. Actually, my husband will tell you I’m a procrastinator in general. I prefer to call it very, very busy. However, over the past few years I’ve been trying to get my taxes done earlier — I got them in in February one year! But this year, time really did just get away from me.
Alas, I can finally sound a sigh of relief — I finished both by federal and state taxes on Friday. And, thanks to TaxAct, an on-line tax software, I was done in less than two hours!
I’m too cheap to pay someone to do my taxes, but I absolutely hate doing them myself. So, for the last few years I’ve been using TaxAct and absolutely love it. Let me tell you why.
Firstly, TaxAct takes you through the tax forms step by step. It asks me questions and I answer. And even better, it gives you real examples of the types of things that qualify for each line item.
I don’t need to pour through pages of tax law to find out if I qualify for this deduction or that. TaxAct asks me questions to help decide. But if I do have a question on a particular item, TaxAct offers a link on each entry page for better explanations or more detail.
In the upper right corner, TaxAct keeps a running total of my refund. Therefore, as I answer a question I can see how it affects my return. For example, the software lets me see easily if it’s better for me to itemize or take the standard deduction. (Yes, I know its been years since I did the standard deduction, but it’s always nice to see the compare and contrast.)
Since I file married jointly, it’s also nice that it lets me see what my return would be if I filed married, but separate returns. I don’t have to go back and figure out which method offers me the bigger return. I enter the information once and the software does a comparison for me.
Another great feature, if you use TaxAct year after year, is that TaxAct gives you the opportunity to import last year’s tax returns and apply any relevant information to this year’s return. I absolutely adore this feature. If you don’t have a lot of changes from year to year (i.e. the company you work for, your mortgage company, you interest-bearing bank accounts or stocks), this feature saves you from having to re-enter basic company information.
And if your time is limited, you’ll love the fact that TaxAct uses the same information you entered for your federal return and applies it to your state return. No double entry!
If that’s not enough, when you’ve finished your return, TaxAct checks it for errors. And if you’ve used it the year before, TaxAct will even compare this year’s return to last year’s. A great way to quickly identify any errors. And for those of you curious, TaxAct will compare your return with the national average.
Finally, TaxAct gives you two options for filing your return — completely paperless, or for those of you who prefer to mail it, a downloaded paper copy to send out.
So how about you? Still procrastinating or have you already received your return? Do you use a service/software or do you still do it by hand?