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Smart Diva: Do your taxes online, it is cheaper and easy





Many people are afraid of filing their own taxes and end up paying a lot of money to companies like H&R. But online tax return filing software tools now make it easy to do it.

You do not have to know the tax law and you can never commit the normal mistakes.  The software is great and very easy to use.


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When I filed my taxes (1040-EZ) for the first time, I was so scared of the whole process that I simply sat in front of a woman in H&R and answered all the questions that she asked me. While I paid close to a hundred dollars, but I was still relieved it was over and I assumed it was perfect. When I told her that I was a MBA she was shocked and told me "I am in front of a MBA doing her taxes?" She made me feel like a dummy and probably I was a dummy about taxes.

Over the years, though, things became complicated. I bought a house, got married, started investing online, started to itemize my deductions, and even worse, I started a small business in my garage. In that process, H&R started to charge us hundreds of dollars.

That is when a friend mentioned that I try filing my tax using a software. So in 2001, I filed my taxes on the TurboTax website. I used the web-based version since it was less expensive than getting a CD-ROM in the mail or downloading it from their website.

More importantly I could work on my taxes whenever and wherever I wanted. It was very simple and all I needed to do was to basically plug in information from all the documents that I had received from banks, my employer, and my mortgage lender. In other words, most people can get that right. Plus, the software checks everything for you to make sure that you get it right. 

Another part that I liked is that the software actually reminds you if you claimed all the credits that you are entitled to. From my experience for years with H&R, I realized that the folks there get paid not by the hour but by the number of returns they complete. So sometimes they do not ask about some obscure credit that you may be entitled to. Few other benefits of using a tax software: 

1-  The return is filed electronically so it gets to both the IRS and the state agency in a matter of hours and you get an acknowledgement generally in a day or so that you are all set. 

2-  And the refunds are so quick. I entered my bank information and did not even have to wait for the check. Since I use online banking, I simply logged on to see my refund that came in less than a week.

3-  The software remembers everything so in following years I did not need to complete all the information. Most fields are already populated and you simply add new information.

4-  The returns are saved online for years and you can access them whenever you need to.

Recommendations on how to use online web-based tax program or software on a CD-ROM

While I have used only TurboTax, there are many others like TaxAct, TaxHead, TaxCut, TaxBrain, etc. Do your research and pick the one that works for you.

I like the web-based version but you will be just fine with a CD-ROM as well. Installing it easy and you will have most functionalities of a web-based version. They are slightly expensive but you can get a deal sometime on some websites. 

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