Yes moms, it is that time of the year once again, time to gather all of your W2 or 1099 income tax forms that you should have received by now from current and previous employers from 2012. If you have not received your W2 or 1099 form, contact your human resources office immediately to be sure they have your current address on file. Inquire if they have received your W2 or 1099 as returned mail for some reason and request a copy of your W2 or 1099 be mailed to you right away. Those parents who have their W2 or 1099 in hand but have yet to file your taxes; what are you waiting for? The deadline for filing taxes (or filing for an extension) is Monday April 15th.
From experience, many moms are clueless how to file their taxes, or spend far too much money going to companies to prepare their tax returns. If you are filing the easiest of tax returns: 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ, there are plenty of online websites that are completely secure that allow you to file both Federal and State tax returns electronically. This is the most expedient type of return to file and moms, trust me when I say, you will be very happy you did so when you get your return either in the mail or via electronic funds transfer directly into your bank account within 2-4 weeks (provided there are no errors in your return or you’ve not been honest and the government is holding your paperwork for further review). While many online sites offer FREE Federal e-filing, they do charge for filing your State taxes. This can be very confusing to new moms or to moms who are looking for ways to cut their expenses and hate tax time simply for the expense of paying someone to file your paperwork for you. The middle man (or company for the politically correct) can be cut out with the ease of electronic filing (e-file). If your adjusted gross income (AGI) is $57,000 or less for the year, you qualify for the Free File program. Visit www.freefile.irs.gov for more information. Please note, however, that if you click on the link labeled ‘start your Free File Fillable Forms’ it will take you away from the irs.gov page to another private business site. Also, in small writing towards the top of the page is a notation that reads:
Note: State preparation and state e-file is not available’. This means that the website for Free File Fillable Forms only provides free e-filing for Federal Taxes, not State Taxes. Since most tax preparers will need to file both, it’s advised to select a different online site to file both returns at the same time.
This article is going to help readers know exactly what items they need to have to file their taxes electronic and a list of the best and least expensive online websites to select from. First of all you want to gather the following items (http://www.irs.gov/publications/p552/ar02.html ):
• W2 or 1099 from all employers for the 2012 calendar year
• Bank Statements
• Brokerage statements (if any)
• All receipts saved for the 2012 calendar year that can be used as a credit (deduction) on your tax return: (i.e.- gas, food, supplies, uniforms, suits, proof of mileage, sales slips, cancelled checks/money order or other ‘proof of payment’, education expenses, charity donation receipts, alimony and child care)
• Purchase of home statements (closing statement, insurance records) including receipts for home improvement costs and any other ‘purchases’ for the home, mortgage interest, real estate taxes paid
• Any investment forms (401K, Mutual Funds, other retirement or investment accounts)
Once you have all of your paperwork that you will need to file your taxes, select from one of the online websites below and follow their specific, step by step instructions to create your personal account and file your taxes. It is very important to make a note in your files of any user names and passwords required to log back into the site at a future date. (Special Note: NEVER share your passwords with anyone. Be sure to create a strong password that includes numbers, letters and symbols-if allowed. The stronger your password, the less chance of your account being attacked by computer hackers). You will start your return with the Federal tax filing and once that has been completed, the website will ask you if you want to abstract the personal data from your Federal filing to start your State filing, this helps cut down on time and avoids retyping the information again. Once you have completed all filing, I strongly urge you to print or download a copy for your own records and keep your 2012 Tax Return filing in a safe place for a minimum of 4 years. It is important to keep a copy of your return for various reasons: to assist in the next year’s filing, for any disputes of income or deductions you claimed, to file an amendment to a prior year’s tax return. If, for any reason, you fail to file a tax return or filed fraudulent information, the IRS website (www.irs.gov) states to retain your employment records indefinitely.
The following websites offer FREE e-file online for Federal 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ forms with additional fees for State taxes as well as regular filing for both Federal and State through the mail. They are in order of the least expensive. Always look for the symbol that indicates that website is an Authorized IRS e-file Provider:
www.freetaxusa.com – FREE edition is Free e-file Federal + $9.95 State. Deluxe edition $5.95 Federal + $9.95 State.
www.taxsimple.com – Basic edition FREE e-file for Federal only for 1040EZ forms with income under $100,000. State is $14.95. Deluxe edition $27.95 + $14.95 State. Premier edition $49.95 + $14.95 State.
www.taxact.com – FREE Edition is Free e-file Federal + $14.95 State. Deluxe edition $9.95 + $14.95 State. Ultimate Bundle is $17.95 for both Federal and State.
www.turbortax.com – FREE edition is Free e-file 1040EZ Federal + $27.99 State (reduced limited time then back up to $36.99) for Free edition only. Basic $19.99 + $36.99 State. Deluxe $29.99 + $36.99 State. Premier $49.99 + $36.99 State. Home & Business $74.99 + $36.99 State.
www.1040taxreturn.com – FREE edition is Free for Federal e-file + State is from $17.95 – 37.95 (e-file only). Basic edition $19.95 + State . Deluxe $37.95 + State. Premium $59.95 + State. There are additional fees for paper forms to file.
www.onlinetaxpros.com – Federal e-file only is FREE + $14.95 State. Standard $19.95 + $14.95 State. Deluxe includes both Federal and State for a total of $34.90.
www.taxslayer.com – (California filing only): FREE edition is Free Federal e-file + $17.90 State (first state filed + $9.95 additional states filing). Classic $9.95 + State $9.95. Premium $29.95 + $9.95 State.
www.hrblock.com – FREE edition is Free Federal e-file + $27.95 State. Basic $19.95 + $27.95 State. Deluxe $29.95 + $27.95 State. Premium $49.95 + $27.95 State.
www.esmarttax.com by Liberty Tax Service – FREE Basic edition is Free Federal e-file + $19.95 State. Deluxe $19.95 each Federal and State. Premium $39.95 + $19.95 State.
www.fileyourtaxes.com – Online e-file for Federal only is FREE but additional fees apply to construct your files per each W2.
www.1040.com – Free Federal e-file only + $29.95 State.
Note: Whichever website you select to e-file your tax returns, always read through all FAQs and pay attention for any additional fees that may apply for extra forms and filings.
Reminder: Filing deadline is April 15, 2013.