Remember the saying, “April showers bring May flowers.” Quite a nice thought, isn’t it? But many of us know exactly what April will bring. That’s right – tax season. Proper tax preparation is important to get the best possible return during the tax season.
Preparing, calculating, and filing income tax returns can be daunting tasks. Shape after shape can make the process a bit overwhelming, and when we toss in the tax credits and deductions, our sanity is at stake. But fear doesn’t have to consume you. Tax preparation services and accountants are available to help. First, let’s take a look at the tax return options.
The best tax preparation service will be the one that suits your needs. Individuals who file their taxes from an employer’s income have different needs than those who file taxes and are self-employed. Additionally, the complexity that comes with tax credits and withholding taxes can lead an individual to choose a professional tax advisor.
A popular choice
H&R Block is a big name on tax returns because of its longevity in the industry and its huge operation with over 11,000 offices. The customer ratings from H&R Block confirm its professional standards as first class in the tax industry. It offers the option of submitting in person (or virtually) to experienced tax professionals or using their online services.
Most people can find the services they need with H&R Block. Services are available for the simple filing of tax returns for more complex tax returns for the self-employed. Online filing services are staggered as required. A simple submission for students, unemployed, or W-2 employees is offered free of charge.
Those looking to maximize credits and deductions may prefer the deluxe option starting at $ 39.99, while rental property owners and investors can choose the premium option starting at $ 55.99. There is also an online option starting at $ 87.99 for those who have small businesses or are self-employed and have custom home deductions. Live expert support is available for these online options at an additional cost.
If an online tax preparation service is not to your taste, H&R Block continues to provide services with tax professionals, individually in the office or virtually, from $ 69. H&R Block is a popular choice for reliable tax preparation service due to its long history, high customer ratings, and affordable pricing structure.
You can learn more at H&R Block if you think it’s right for you.
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A convenient option
Jackson Hewitt has been in the tax filing game for over three decades. The company offers services in over 6,000 locations, half of which are in Walmart stores. The uniqueness of these locations provides tax filing clients with a convenient option in finding a tax preparation service.
In addition to the services offered at the above locations with on-site tax professionals, Jackson Hewitt offers online tax return and virtual filing options with tax professionals. Simple online tax returns start at $ 25 for federal filings. Virtual options with tax professionals range from $ 69 to $ 249, depending on your needs, from simple filers to self-employed and more complex tax assistants. Due to the franchise nature of some of the Jackson Hewitt offices, local prices may vary. It is best to give someone near you a call for pricing.
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An online option
Some people prefer the personal options offered by the tax preparation services above. Others may use tax preparation software or online options to prepare and file their taxes. If you’re the latter, TurboTax might be for you.
TurboTax offers its services through an online format or software available at most retail stores. There are no store fronts or offices to visit. TurboTax is a great tax preparation option for those who are comfortable doing things for themselves. However, this does not mean that professional tax assistance is not available when needed. TurboTax Live is an option that allows a tax advisor to complete the process with you.
TurboTax software enables customers to file federal and state taxes using an easy-to-understand, step-by-step series of questions, provided the correct tax documents and forms are already in place. A free edition is offered for simple returns, W-2 employees, and unemployment income. Deluxe and Premier options are available for those looking to maximize deductions and credits, or for those with investment or rental properties. These options start at $ 60 and $ 90, respectively. A personal and business option for the self-employed starting at $ 120.
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What’s the best way to file taxes?
What are the best ways to file your taxes? Well you only have three options. Let’s take a quick look at each one:
- Manual filing: Manual filing is done by completing the IRS custom tax return form (Form 1040). When you’re done, send it to the IRS along with the payments you owe.
- Tax preparation services with software programs: Tax software programs are standard these days of electronic filing. These tax programs or websites have services that will walk customers through the process step by step by asking a series of questions about taxable income, deductions, etc. File this electronically.
- Tax preparation services and tax advisors: Some people choose to have a professional tax return. A tax preparation service helps clients fill out the appropriate tax forms and maximize returns.
What is a tax preparation service?
Simply put, a tax preparation service works with individuals to help prepare their tax returns. Sometimes these tax preparation services also offer tax planning so that you are better prepared for future tax seasons. These are services such as budgeting and bookkeeping, auditing or simply tax advice. While these are often done in person, online tax preparation services are also an option.
It is important to note that tax preparation services are simply that; Tax preparation. This means they don’t guarantee a specific tax refund amount or guarantee surefire ways to cut the taxes you might owe. The main job of tax preparation services is to prepare a client’s tax return based on their information. That said, it is important that your ducks in a row and your facts are in order when you meet them.
What about professional tax advisors?
If you are overwhelmed, hesitant, or uncomfortable filing your taxes, a tax preparation service or preparer might be ideal for you. Expertise in this area, not to mention the time savings, could breathe a sigh of relief this tax season. Once you have decided on this option to use a tax preparation service, it is time to check out some of the best tax preparation and tax preparation services.
Perhaps large retail chains are not your thing, or perhaps your tax situation is complex. In that case, an independent tax advisor may be an option for you. Filing your taxes with the help of an independent tax advisor or CPA firm is one way to ensure that your taxes are filed professionally. Complex tax returns require people with the right expertise who know the rules and laws. Often these are professionals who deal with taxes all year round, not just during the tax season.
This process can be as simple as submitting the appropriate forms and records to a local office or working with a tax advisor through an online portal. Remember to start early if this is a path you want to take as tax season is a hectic time for CPA companies.
Prices for this type of professional tax preparation help vary. It is best to explore the services available in your area. CPA directories and tax professional websites will help with this search.
Find out what works for you
Tax season can be an overwhelming time. The process of preparing and submitting is not always easy. Tax preparation services and accountants are available to help you ease the burden. Fear doesn’t have to be true.
Many offer convenient options for in-person filing and advice, online filing and support, and professional expertise. The best tax preparation service is the one that best suits your needs during the tax season.