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TAX NEWS - 2010

Income Tax Filing Online

Try Online Tax Filing This Year

If you've never filed your Federal and state income taxes online, you have probably waited too long for your refund and/or missed the opportunity to be certain that you have taken advantage of every available reduction in the amount of taxes you have to pay. That said, I know this firsthand because I've done my own taxes online for the last three years. The results have been very beneficial to me and my family.

First of all, it is a very inexpensive way to get the best information possible about reducing your tax payment. Online Tax Filling can cost you as little as half of what it would cost to go to a tax preparer. In addition, online tax filing programs walk you through the process step-by-step so that you don't miss any opportunities to save money. Last, but not least, you will get your refund check much faster if you do your filing online.

Concerned About Privacy?

Your personal financial information is as private when you file online as it would be if you go to a tax preparer or do it yourself at home and then mail it. Most online tax filing companies offer you details about how they protect your privacy, even to the extent of offering to replace ANY funds taken from your tax account while you are using their service. This means that they will accept liability even if a hacker accesses your account!

Be sure to look for a company that offers this level of security or more. No one can totally guarantee that any transaction you make on the Internet will be completely private. If a company is so committed to serving you that they will replace any funds that are affected, you can pretty much count on them carefully monitoring and working to keep their site as secure as possible.

Worried You Won't Be Able to Do It Right

If you've done your own taxes on paper and know a little about following directions, you will find that it is easier to do your taxes online. As I said above, you will be guided through each step with both questions, options, and detailed instructions. As you make your entries, some companies even question data that looks like it might be unusual. When you finish the process, you will be able to have the company review it for correctness a second time.

The program will do ALL of the math for you, too. This means that there won't be any errors in the dollar amounts you enter. I've found that this is very helpful because when I did my taxes on paper, I always had to recheck the math two or three times before I felt comfortable with it.

Wondering What You Have to Do?

Getting all the information together is always the hardest part for most of us. If you've kept all your bills and information together, however, you will be pleased to discover that online tax programs will tell you exactly what you need to have in front of you when you begin the process. You don't have to rush either. If you are moving along through the process and have to stop, you can come back later to continue.

Basically, what you have to do to make online tax filing work for you is to gather your tax information. Have your W2s handy and any tax documents you have received from work, from your bank, from your student loan company, and from any other source that has provided you with information about what you have paid in taxes. Gather your medical receipts, household improvement expenses, and, if you are an independent contractor, gather information about the cost of doing business. You will also need a credit card or checking account number when it comes time to pay for the tax service.

The Good News

If you've followed the instructions carefully, you will find that the process is fairly simple to complete. Once you've used an online tax preparation program, you will have established an account with them that you will be able to access again the following year. That means saving even more time the second time around. You should know that your refund can be direct deposited into your bank account and that it will most likely be deposited within a few days rather than a few weeks!

You don't need to be concerned about how to sign your tax forms. While you will have the choice to print them out and mail them (which may be advantageous in some circumstances), you will get your refund much faster if you use an electronic signature. In some cases, that signature is based on a very specific question about a line from your tax return from the previous year. If you know the correct amount from that line, the IRS will accept the information as evidence that you are the right person submitting the return.

I have had a lot of success and saved time and money by filing my own taxes online, and I wanted to share information about this option with you. One final note: some sites allow you to go all the way through the process before you make your payment. This gives you the opportunity to decide how happy you are with what they offer. I strongly recommend that you give online filing a try. It just makes sense.
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