New Features For Tax Preparers

Most people have their tax forms or financial documents in hand at this moment in time and that means that they are ready to start preparing their taxes for 2014. This means that they might be looking at the latest online tax software from places like Turbo Tax and H&R Block for their online tax preparation needs. Unfortunately, the new features offered by the likes of these companies can be confusing and hard to understand.

One of the new features offered by Turbo Tax is it’s mobile experience. With the push of a few buttons and the click of a camera, users of iOS or Android mobile devices can do exactly what their tax preparing counterparts using a PC or Mac can do with the ability to switch to and from these mobile versions of tax preparation software.

Taxes this year, like previous years for the likes of H&R Block, Tax Act, and Turbo Tax, software is also being offered for free. Unlike past versions of these free software programs, there are a few more features provided to those not willing to dish out a little cash for the premium versions of products. Turbo Tax has even started waiving the extra charge on state tax returns while many other online software programs have yet to.

With the influx of online tax preparation software versions comes the deletion of the CD versions of these same programs. Why have an extra desk or two laying around when consumers can simply go to a website and download the software without the hassle of pushing a few extra buttons. Most companies have CD versions still available, but that may not be true in coming years.

With all the new features that Turbo Tax has to offer, once you pass the Turbo Tax login screen, you are definitely in for a treat.

The Tax Preparation Wars Have Begun

TurboTax Continues on With Its Own SuperBowl Ad

Intuit is the maker of Turbo Tax, a leading tax-preparation software. During the Superbowl, they aired their advertisement with no mention of the recent squabbles with furious customers over their software.

Rather than address the problem, Intuit chose to simply state the benefits of their program, which was being able to file both state and federal taxes for FREE. Their ad displayed a Boston Tea Party reenactment with a small twist to it. While angry American Patriots were swarming a British Ship, tossing large boxes of tea overboard, the British Redcoats were able to stop them by offering them FREE tax filing.

The patriots end up accepting their offer, and then the ad transitions to George Washington, who is reversing his famous Delaware crossing. The voice-over makes this statement – “Alright, maybe this is not the way it actually went down, however, you can still file your taxes on Turbo Tax for FREE !”

Turbo Tax lets it be known that 60 million Americans will be able to file their returns for Taxes 2014, both state and federal, for FREE. Their website states that this offer applies to those who use forms 1040A or 1040EZ. It says there is no charge for filing a state return or the forms used for filing the Earned Income Tax Credit (this benefits the working poor).

Their website also has a list of its competitors charges for the exact same services, like on TaxAct or H&R Block. Their entire campaign ignores the cries of the outraged customers over the Turbo Tax Deluxe package for personal computers. Lots of people were surprised to see that the Turbo Tax Deluxe software for 2014 taxes, did not allow the electronic filing of Schedule Cs for business, Schedule Ds fo both capital gains & losses, and Schedule Es and Fs for rental properties or farms.

What the customers had to do for these privileges was to ‘upgrade’ to a paid version of the software. The cost was $30 over and above what the Deluxe version costs. There were some disgruntled users who already bought software from some of Turbo Taxes competitors (H&R Block and TaxAct), so H&R Block came out with a free version of their Deluxe product to those who had already purchased a Turbo Tax version. It seemed the war was on. All these people had to do was show proof of their purchase and switch over to the other side. Let the games begin!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XTwbgmWRrA

TurboTax Saves You Time And Money

TurboTax Saves You Time And Money

Again it is that time of the year that you dread; tax time.  It may seem like you just filed, but now you are running out of time to complete and submit your IRS 2012 taxes.  Many people make major mistakes when it comes to filing their taxes.  One common mistake is completing their tax paperwork on their own,  without the use of professional tax expert or professional tax software.  Due to this mistake they underestimate their estimated tax payment and end up owing a lot more than they thought they would.  This can lead to financial trouble for years to come and having to pay penalties and interest.  No one wants to pay more than what they actually owe in IRS 2012 taxes.  Using TurboTax will help you avoid this costly mistake.

IRS Form 1040
IRS Form 1040 (Photo credit: bradleygee)

One benefit to using TurboTax software is that you can use it on your own time. No need to schedule a last minute appointment with a tax professional, who may overcharge you now that you have waited until the last minute to file your taxes.  TurboTax is there and ready when you are.  With TurboTax you do not pay more to file or to use their system if you wait until the deadline to file.  This program is updated with all the new tax laws and codes and will help you get your taxes completely done correctly the first time.

If you are self-employed ,or are an investor, or a landlord, you most likely will need to estimate your tax liability.  People in these categories often do not have enough income tax withholdings to cover what they owe in federal taxes.  TurboTax can help you accurately calculate your estimated tax payments.  To figure out your tax liability when looking at your Form 1040, look at lines 62, which is your total tax, and lines 63, your tax withholding.  Subtract the withholding from the total tax.  The sum is your tax liability.  Estimated tax payments, if you owe them, are due quarterly on the 15th of April, June, September and January.  If your income will change significantly in the next year, you should consider calculating your estimated tax payments from your projected total income.

When submitting your estimated tax payments to the IRS use the 1040-ES form as a voucher to help make sure your payment is processed properly.  Make your check out to “United States Treasury”.  In the memo area of the check be sure to include your social security number and the year for which you are paying taxes.  You can also make a payment using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.

No matter you financial situation or tax liability, TurboTax can help you with your IRS 2012 taxes.  This program eliminates the need to track down tax forms, send in W2s, and takes the guesswork out of filing your taxes and your estimated tax payment.  Whether you are ahead of the game or waiting until the 11th hour, TurboTax will help you file your taxes accurately and easily.

Capital Gains Ignorance Leads To Catastrophic Losses

The IRS regards almost every asset you use or own for business or personal reasons as a capital asset. Such items include your personal residence in addition to any furniture or stocks and bonds held in your own name. Net profit or loss from the sale of such commodities is either a capital gain or loss.

All capital gains must be accurately and fully reported on federal tax returns.

Deductible capital losses are limited to investment property.

Capital gains and losses may be categorized as either “short-term” or “long-term.”

Applicable net capital gain taxes are typically lower than other taxable income rates. Maximum 2001 tax year tax rates for most individuals is 15%. Low-income individuals’ tax liability may be as low as 0 % on all or part of net gain. Special capital gains categories may attract tax liabilities of 25 to 28 percent.

Capital losses which exceed capital gains are deductible to offset other income such as salaries or wages. Annual deductible amounts are limited to $1,500 and $3,000, depending on your filing status.

If net capital losses exceed the allowable annual deductible amounts, you may rollover part of the unclaimed sum by deducting it on the next year’s tax return. The IRS will then regard it as though it was actually incurred during that tax year.

Form 8949 – Sales and Other Capital Asset Dispositions will be required to compute capital losses and gains. Taxpayers must list all details of capital asset disposition on this form and transfer the net figure to Form 1040 Schedule D.

Best iPhone Apps to Help You with Your Taxes

Once again it’s the most boring and stressful season of all: tax season. When you’re preparing your own taxes, it can be quite tedious, but it must be done. Kudos to those of you who don’t rely on a tax professional and attempt to DIY. But everyone might benefit from a little help, and you don’t have to go it alone. If you have an iPhone, there are lots of great apps that will help you through the process so you can get your taxes done quickly and correctly (the first time). Here are the best iPhone apps to help you with your taxes.

TurboTax SnapTax
If you have a very simple tax return to file, this app will help you do it quickly and easily from your iPhone. There’s never been a better way to file if you have no dependents, don’t own a home, have only one form of income, and made less than $100,000 last year. If you fit those qualifications, download this app and be done with your taxes in minutes. Just take a picture of your W-2, answer a few simple questions, and e-file instantly. E-filing costs just $19.99, but downloading the app is free.

TaxCaster by TurboTax
Another excellent, free app from TurboTax, the TaxCaster will help you predict the amount of your refund. You’ll enter information about yourself and your income, such as your filing status, dependents, withholding, compensation, donations, your home, and more. When you’re finished, it will provide you with a dollar-amount estimate of your refund. While it won’t do your taxes for you and isn’t guaranteed to be exact, it’s a great way to get an idea of what you can expect from your taxes this year.

MyTaxRefund by TurboTax
The third awesome tax app from TurboTax is MyTaxRefund. If you e-filed your taxes this year, it will help you track the status of your return. It’s free, and you’re not required to have e-filed through TurboTax to be able to use it. You can check on the progress of your Federal and State e-filed returns with ease, anytime and anywhere.

Dictionary of Tax Terms
When you’re preparing your own taxes, you’re bound to run into a few mystery terms that you just don’t fully understand. This app costs $0.99, and it will define for you more than 600 tax terms. It’s searchable, you can save the entries you need to remember, and it works entirely offline.

Calculator
There are lots of calculator apps, but the 99-cent “Calculator” is the best way to go. It has an attractive interface, and it’s easy to use. It includes a variety of scientific functions for all your calculating needs. As you do your taxes this year, it’s essential to have a good calculator on hand, and this is one for you.

EITC Calculator
Did you know you could earn up to $5,751 back with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)? This free app will help you determine if you qualify for an EITC. You’ll simply answer a few basic questions, such as your marital status and income, and this app will estimate how much you might qualify for.

 

Carl Schmidt is an experienced tax professional who shares his personal finance tips with you as a hobby. To keep his writing clear, he uses the world’s number one grammar checker.

Turbo Tax Mobile Apps

Mobile apps are current big news in the world of tax preparation. From providing tax information to allowing users to e-file, these apps are on the rise.

Unlike many competitors, TurboTax is one app that allows users to e-file a 1040EZ with their iPhone or Android device.  Data from around 400,000 financial institutions and employers, W-2 Express, various 1099 and 1098 forms, charitable-deduction records from ItsDeductible, accounting records from popular software like Quicken and QuickBooks, along with any data saved in a .cfx or .txf format are able to be entered. Bob Meighan, vice president of consumer advocacy at TurboTax, said that the goal is to allow taxpayers to use as few of keystrokes as possible to complete and file their tax returns.

In order to keep your information safe, incomplete return files are purged. Completed returns are accessible, which provides a benefit if you use the same app to file in following years.

Consumer Questions
TurboTax has enrolled agents and CPAs on hand to answer any tax questions that you might have.  This unlimited “Ask a Tax Expert” service is available via chat and telephone. You must log into your tax-return file to get an answer, but the answer will be available for you. TurboTax also has an impressive Live Community database, which has answers to thousands of tax questions.

Audit Support
If you find yourself in need of tax audit support, TurboTax has a solution for you as well. For $39.95, you’ll be walked through the steps you need to take to prepare for an audit.