Before the Online tax software became popular, the paper filing involved much guesstimating of the deductions for state and federal returns. Now with TurboTax (http://turbotax.intuit.com/) deluxe by Intuit, H&R Block At Home (http://www.hrblock.com/) and TaxACT by 2nd Story Software (http://www.taxact.com/), you can file state and federal income taxes with IRS online. OnePriceTaxes (http://www.onepricetaxes.com/) for $14.95, and TaxSlayerExtreme (http://www.taxslayer.com/) Premier edition for $19.95 are available for much lower prices, but all five tools differ in features, functionality, and their calculations.
We have used H&R Block At Home for many years as it integrated financial data from Microsoft Money. However, Money went EOL in 2009, and we have thus converted to Quicken Delux by Intuit, which also makes TurboTax. As of last year, Quicken has also become interactive with H&R Block At Home.
Basically, all the tools will calculate your AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) based on the gross pay, social security and Medicare withholdings reported on your W-2. AGI will also be adjusted from 1099-DIV reportings from each fund managers. Deductions are calculated based on the marital status, dependent care, 1098 form for property tax to calculate itemized mortgage deductions, FSA, and/or education deductions you reported. User friendly GUI will report amount you owe for state income tax. For federal tax returns, it assembles Schedule A, B, D, Form 2441, 5329, 6251, 1040-V and dividend summary. All tools use SSL and are completely safe, as they guarantee 100% accurate calculations with audit support to reduce your chance of an IRS audit.
Basic TurboTax and H&R Block At Home are priced around $29.95. You can get TurboTax Corporate Business edition for $129.95, H&R Block Premium for $36.95, and TaxACT Ultimate Bundle for $17.95. TaxACT does not interact with Microsoft Money or Quicken files but will estimate your deductions and file taxes online.
Other tools may be free but might compromise security or will not remember your past loss history so stay loyal to that same tool. So having used TurboTax, H&R Block At Home, and TaxACT, which one maximizes your refunds? They are more or less very similar and comparable. H&R Block incorporates tax expertise from their brick offices, but all three are pretty equal. Today, H&R Block and TurboTax own over 50% the market for online taxes as they offer more features to support functionality for corporations, partnerships, multi-member LLC, sole proprietors, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, home ownership, and medical expenses.
Remember, what you want from online tax tools are support, interactive filing, and guarantee against audits. The above three will ease the burden of filing your taxes each year and make it easy!