To receive the EITC you must file a tax return, even if you owe no taxes. Cost is always a consideration when you choose a tax filing service. H&R Block and TurboTax are the two most comprehensive online services available and likewise they are also the most expensive. If you made less than $66,000 last year, you should have been able to prepare and file your taxes for free with one of the companies participating in the IRS’ Free File program.

Believe me I will rack up so many late fees if I didn’t have this help so it pays for itself in dollars but more in peace of mind. I allow my bookkeeper to remotely access my computer so that we work over the phone and neither her nor I need to leave our houses which is nice. On top of my taxes, having an accountant has helped me to both grow my business and handle personal matters more effectively. My wife and I went into all of this thinking that using an accountant was going to save us time in filing our taxes. But instead, we discovered that we had to do most of the prep work.

Since I’m a skeptic, I decided to conduct an experiment with our accountant. Even though I paid him $500 to file our taxes, I went ahead and prepared my tax return with Turbo Tax and compared the two to see if there was a difference.

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We wrote about that earlier this month and the opposition to this provision by freshman Democratic Reps. Katie Hill, Katie Porter, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others. The House ultimately passed the bipartisan Taxpayer First Act, which also contains some provisions that consumer advocates support, such as restrictions on private debt collection of unpaid taxes. One of the easier tax software options to use, Lacerte has more integration option and allows data import from QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop. You can read more detailed information in the Lacerte section of this article. Desktop programs generally must be purchased for each tax year.

So, if you want to prepare 2018 returns you’ll need to purchase the 2018 program. However, cloud-based programs often charge you purely by the return so I don’t believe there should be a problem preparing older returns. You should be able to prepare returns back at least three years, which is generally the statute of limitations. Any longer than that and you may end up filing it by hand on paper. Accountants need to decide each year on the professional tax software that is right for them.

  • That extra level of protection may be worth giving up, though, if you’re confident about your ability to file a tax return.
  • We particularly appreciated the questions the program asks that guide you to the right tier of service, and a checklist of documents we’d need to complete our return proved to be a welcome time-saver.
  • TaxAct has a clean interface and is designed to walk you through preparing a return.
  • Here are seven of the biggest, best options if you are planning to file your taxes online.
  • TurboTax makes the case for using its tax preparation software by offering help — and lots of it.
  • (They’re free with the free versions of H&R Block and TurboTax.) Expect to pay $36 to $40 for a state return, though e-filing is included with the online product.

But each company has its own distinct eligibility requirements. It’s not clear if the other companies would offer refunds. But Congress is now moving to put the Free File program into law, including its restriction on the IRS creating its own free service.

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You can also try different scenarios to see what effects certain deductions and filing options have on your bottom line. In other words, you have complete visibility over your taxes and it’s dirt cheap. In this post, I discuss my own personal experiences filing my tax returns with 2 different accountants vs using Turbo Tax and Tax Cut.