What to Look for in Online Tax Prep and Filing Software
You are not alone. Many people file tax returns online; according to last year’s record from IRS, the total electronically filed tax returns was more than 68 million, out of which around 17 million taxpayers filed their returns online themselves.
Gray points out certain questions worth looking asking:
Is the software secured and easy to work with?
As there is no need for downloading, it saves time to work with internet-based software. But certain things that you should make sure of in the beginning are whether the program is easy to use, whether the information can be organized properly, whether it provides complete support resources for the process, and most importantly whether it has proper security standard to encrypt your data.
Is it comfortable for you to work with it?
Normally the online tax prep sites password-protect your work. Also see whether the program can automatically check for certain minor errors and is able to provide suggestive corrections for some major mistakes.
After you’ve filed, what happens to your return?
You should also make certain that the program can maintain previous year’s record of your return filing so that you can go back there and check for some useful information.
Does it show clearly the cost of your tax preparations and filing?
Sometimes it is not so easy to navigate the pricing structure of many tax software providers; some of them offer free filing and others have a price tag mentioned, but normally they do not clearly indicate the added costs for the completion of a state tax return. As Gray points out, it’s better to find out a good do-it-yourself tax program in order to prepare your taxes yourself, and it should be available for below $40 which includes costs for both federal and state tax return preparation and filing.
Is there any payment and refund option?
There are some web sites that allow you to directly deposit the refund amount to your bank account after deducting the costs of using the software.
Is there any help and support system?
Ideally, the program needs to be straightforward; but for your own convenience, you should make sure that it provides live help and support through chatting or e-mail.
Gray said, "Taxpayers should have a look at the new features coming with the latest tax software this year as they might have become frustrated by filing their tax returns on paper or using the old online tax programs." He also added, "It’s not the way many people like to spend time by preparing for taxes, but if they are accessed to the right tools, then online return filing could be easy as well as time-saving. Moreover, they might even learn new tips for saving money on taxes."
What to Look for in Online Tax Prep and Filing Software by Steven Patterson