On-Line Tax Information and Tax Filing Sites
The Web provides many resources for getting tax information that is free, including explanations of general tax issues, tips on cutting taxes, tax planning tools and estimators, and overviews of recent tax law changes.
There are also a number of Web sites that offer free on-line tax preparation services.
Listed below are the Web sites that AAII editors have found to be particularly useful, with considerable information available at no charge.
This H&R Block Tax Tips page provides tax news, a large collection of articles, and a 2009 tax estimator to determine whether you get a refund or will owe the IRS.
The Tax Toolkit offers a tax prep checklist and interactive “tax widget” estimation tools. Calculators include a 2009 withholding calculator and a self-employment tax estimator.
Finally, the H&R Block site includes 2009 tax law changes, an explanation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, stimulus FAQs, IRS forms, a tax calendar and links to individual state sites.
Internal Revenue Service
The official IRS Web site provides numerous explanations of almost every tax issue in the tax code. It includes official rules and downloadable publications, tax forms and instructions, and you can search by specific tax topics.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Information Center lists tax provisions including the first-time homebuyer credit, the making work pay tax credit, deductions for new vehicles and more.
The Online Services section offers a withholding calculator, an AMT Assistant and a charity search engine.
You can also visit the site and learn how to E-file. Once you have filed, you can check on the status of any refund owed you by going to “Where’s My Refund?”
At the MSN Money home page choose the Tax tab. The Tax Center offers articles on cutting your taxes, preparation tips, avoiding an audit and tax shelters. It includes a Tax Corner message board where tax attorney and author Jeff Schnepper answers readers’ questions.
Other resources include a tax IQ quiz, tax calendar, a summary of the year’s tax-law changes, a fast answers section, a glossary, and links to federal and state tax forms.
Yahoo! provides articles on taxes, filing, and advice and strategy. How-to guides cover tax issues such as common tax credits, capital gains, itemizing deductions, the alternative minimum tax and tax strategies for retirees.
Tax calculators help you determine: the tax savings generated by a mortgage; the tax advantages of an annuity; how taxes and inflation impact a return; and whether to exercise ‘in-the-money’ stock options.
On-Line Tax Filing
These Web resources offer simple ways to file your taxes on-line for free. Most of these sites also offer more complete and extensive tax-filing software and services for a charge.
H&R Block offers brick and mortar buildings with tax preparation services as well as the ability to prepare taxes yourself using its software and on-line preparation tools. H&R Block offers free on-line federal tax preparation; a state return will cost you $34.95. Or, you can buy the basic software package for $19.95: It includes up to five free federal E-filings and a $19.95 state E-file.
Internal Revenue Service
Several years ago, the IRS introduced its Free File program, which allows certain taxpayers to file their federal taxes on-line for free. To participate in the IRS’ Free File program, go to www.irs.gov/efile.
TaxAct offers a free edition for federal returns that includes a deduction examiner. State returns cost $14.95 when you use the free federal E-file.