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3 Ways to Do Your Tax Returns


Filing tax returns is probably one of the least popular things in the world, despite the fact that many people get refunds worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. No doubt, the tax code is quite complex, and it is difficult for most people to figure out how to file returns on their own. Sure, there are IRS publications and websites with helpful information, but that doesn't change the fact that the majority of people will still find the process of completing tax returns to be quite daunting.

The good news is that you have quite a few options. Here are three methods I've use to file my tax returns in the past.

1. Use a CPA or Tax Preparation Service
This is probably the easiest way to have your taxes done. Just give your CPA or tax preparation service all the relevant documents such as W-2s and 1099 forms, and let them do the rest. Using a professional also ensures that your taxes will be completed accurately. This may lower your chances of being audited as well. The one big disadvantage, however, is that using a service will cost hundreds of dollars.

2. Use Tax Preparation Software
If you take this route, there is one and only one software you should consider, and that is TurboTax. This program has long been considered the best tax preparation software available. TurboTax is prices affordably, and for basic returns, the price starts at around $20 to $30. Don't forget to purchase the state returns as well. Using TurboTax, I've been able to complete my returns in a couple hours. You can get started on your return at no charge if you use the Turbotax Free Edition, available from Freetrialspot.com.

3. Use IRS Free File or Free Fillable Forms
If your income is below $62,000, the IRS allows you to use a number of programs to file your taxes for free. If your income is above $62,000, you can still use the IRS's Free Fillable Forms, which are online forms that you fill out and e-file. I would not recommend you do this, however, unless you are familiar with the tax code and confident that you can complete the forms manually without making any errors.