I have used one of the tax preparation software programs like Turbo Tax for years. I find them good as they prompt for relevant information and help me sort through what is deductible or not for my situation. Note, you will need the version that handles ICs. Thanks for reminding me that I have to go buy one.
Happily shopping Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut
You will want a version of Turbo Tax that supports basic preparation of Schedule C, which is where your IC income and expenses need to be reported. I find the "Deluxe" edition perfectly adequate for my small businesses. You won't need the "expanded" support for Schedule C unless you have employees or subcontractors or very complicated "start-up expenses", IMHO. I have used Turbo Tax Deluxe for eons, and love it. By using its Q and A system, I have discovered lots of savings that I was not aware applied to me, though not always on Schedule C stuff.
Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel
I've done the taxes for myself and family members for years, first manually and then signed on with Turbo Tax when it came out and haven't looked back. I've weaned the family members off so that they now do their own but I still do a friend's along with mine. This year I took a tax prep. shop and it took everything I had to sit on my hands to not reach across the desk and tell the young gal to move, that I could do my taxes faster than she was - especially since I had all my figures ready. All she had to do was pop it into the form and as it was she had to get help for a stock sale I had!
I have used Turbo Tax for the past 10 years and USED to sing their praises, but this year the online version forced me to upgrade from delux to home and business because of the 1099 MISC. In the past I've always been able to use Delux to handle the mystery shopping income and the 1099 MISC.
So I switched to TaxAct this year and did my federal taxes for FREE, including the mystery shopping income and my investment income. (Turbo Tax online FORCES you to upgrade from Delux to Premier just to do a simple Schedule D now!) I realize they are free to charge whatever they want and do it however they want, but it seems like bait and switch after all these years of not having to upgrade. Someone said that the version you buy in the box at the store still allows you to do a schedule D without upgrading, but I don't know if it can handle the 1099 MISC.
TaxAct is pretty similar to Turbo Tax and mostly walks you through the forms in a similar way, but doesn't assume you are quite as big of an idiot that Turbo Tax does.
And did I mention the federal part was FREE? There is a "delux" version of Tax Act that you can upgrade to for around $19 which includes a state return, but in my state you can file online directly with the state and do the return for free.
DRJ, the schedule D is a lot more complex these days (it triggers medicare investment income taxes) than it used to be because of Obamacare kicking in. There are very few simple returns any more, and Turbotax online free version was meant only for very uncomplicated returns.
I used Turbotax Home and Business before I started my tax business and switched to Intuit's professional software called Proseries.
I recommend Turbotax for do it yourselfers because it really does have a very good interview. When I was first starting out with my tax prep business, back in the late 90's, I got a copy of it every year and would use it when I got a client with some situation I hadn't dealt with before and wanted to see what information was needed to fill out the forms right. I'd let it walk me through the process, examine the results, see where it fed the data I input, and then make sure I got the right result on Proseries. (Proseries doesn't have an interview feature; you have to know what forms you need to use yourself.)
Haven't used Turbotax in over 10 years though so I don't know if it has changed recently or not.
> DRJ, the schedule D is a lot more complex these
> days (it triggers medicare investment income
> taxes) than it used to be because of Obamacare
> kicking in. There are very few simple returns any
> more, and Turbotax online free version was meant
> only for very uncomplicated returns.
> I recommend Turbotax for do it yourselfers because
> it really does have a very good interview.
I realize the free version of Turbotax is for very simple returns (and only for tax payers that earn less than $30,000). Essentially, it's an online version of a 1040 EZ. I was never able to use the free edition of Turbo Tax, but the Delux version covered everything I needed to do in the past for the $20 to $30 that I paid for it each year. Now, Turbotax has turned the Delux version into essentially a 1040 EZ for people that make more than $30,000, and you have to upgrade to a $75 to $100 version.
Last year, before Turbotax moved to their bait and switch business model, I would have been singing their praises too, but I can't recommend them anymore.
My point is that Tax Act is FREE. The schedule D isn't any more complex for Turbotax to figure out than it is for Tax Act. I just want people to realize that they don't have to bow at the feet of intuit and shower them with money in order to do their taxes.
Tax Act is VERY similar to Turbo Tax and it's FREE.
I used Turbo Tax until this year. It used to be completely free until this year. Now they want to charge $75 because I have my own business.... Good Bye Turbo Tax! Hello, H&R Block. Less than $16 for both state and federal tax filings...
I use Turbotax Home & Business. My husband works full-time, I mystery shop part-time, and we own some rental properties-turbotax has been really great for me. It is expensive though. Had to file 2 states and federal and it cost almost $170.