21-Century Tax Filing

February 18, 2013

Written by wukovits

Every year a specific date tends to loom over almost every American citizen: April 15th.  For many, filing their income tax was a daunting task and they enlisted the help of agencies who charge a tidy fee, as any business should.  Now with technology available to everyone, the tax filing process has become a much easier and friendlier process.

For many, filing their tax return involves a single W-2 form and the expectancy of a tax return check, and for those, it is now as easy as using your iPhone.  Intuit now offers an iPhone app called TurboTax SnapTax, which allows you take a picture of your W-2 form and file your taxes over the Internet.  Granted, it is limited to those who fit certain criteria, like income less than $80,000, no dependents to claim, and no property ownership, but for many of America’s youth, it makes the process painless.  SnapTax is also available for Android users.

Many of us don’t fit these stipulations and need a solution that can support the complexities of each and every situation, and for that, the choices are many.  Each of the major tax software giants, like Intuit TurboTax, TaxACT, and H&R Block has their own solution online, and the service offers many different tiers for pricing based on the needs of each user.  With many other services moving their software into the cloud, filing your taxes online might not be a reach for most, but for others less trusting of the internet, a version you can install on your computer is a better option.  All flavors of tax complexity are offered in stores, as you might have seen in many places this time of year.  For the last 10 years I have used a product I buy in the store.  I guess it’s become a ritual of sorts, but each and every year it gets easier and smoother.

Once you pick which way to go, the process is very similar in that you are asked a series of questions pertaining to you and your income.  If you’ve ever taken an online survey, this has a very similar feel to it, with each question breaking down the process into “easy to digest” pieces.  You can save as often as you like to take a break; I often take a month or two putting everything together before I finally file.

For filing, you can choose to print out the forms to file through the mail, but then again, didn’t you just use your computer to file your taxes?  Why use an antiquated system of delivery when you can e-file it instead?  Yes, this is my favored way to file my taxes each year, and these programs can help you all the way through.

Of course, for many these options aren’t prudent.  Having to manage your own finances can be a cumbersome task in both your home and business and the use of a tax professional is certainly advised if at any point you don’t feel comfortable with this process.  After all, filing your federal income tax correctly is of the upmost importance.

However, if you feel like trying something that could save you some money and teach you more about how your money is taxed, that I highly recommend you give any of these solutions a try.

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