Doing your taxes often feels like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. E-filing not only streamlines the process, but it also means getting your refund faster. While e-filing may be easiest for those with simple returns — such as those who don't own homes or small businesses — e-filing can be done by just about anyone.
That's because the best e-filing programs out there, particularly the three below, make doing taxes easier. The e-filing systems ask questions you answer so that you get all the deductions you can. Taxes that are e-filed often get processed faster, too, in comparison to all the paper forms. Many programs are even available for free. And, most importantly of all, should you be audited by the IRS, they can help with that, too.
By far the most popular e-filing option, TurboTax has offered trusted tax software for over two decades now. Here's what you can expect from the software program.
Get your refund fast. Refunds can be direct deposited into your account. TurboTax also offer additional incentives: If you use $100 of your federal tax refund to buy an Amazon.com gift card, they'll give you an extra 5 percent back.
Choose from a variety of packages. Even the most complicated of filing situations can be handled through TurboTax's e-filing system, such as if you own a rental property or a small business.
Promise 100% accuracy. They're so confident in their error checking system that if you're penalized for anything due to a calculation error, they'll refund not only the penalty, but also the interest.
Receive support. If you have a question while filing, no problem. They offer support online and off.
With an e-filing system and storefront locations, H&R Block offers taxpayers a number of resources, and that's why they prepare one of every seven tax returns.
Receive help in choosing a tax solution. Before you even start filing out a form, they'll ask you a few questions to determine which tax package is best for you. They even take into consideration how comfortable you feel doing taxes on your own.
Get your work double-checked. Once your taxes are submitted, they'll go through a review process to ensure nothing was missed. You'll also get free audit support, as well as free advice from an H&R Block tax expert (both in store and remotely).
Do your taxes on the go. If you're simply filling out a 1040EZ, download their app and take a photo of your W-2. This is probably the easiest — and fastest — e-filing option, ever.
Get cash back. That's not just referring to a refund. They offer cash back incentives, too.
While not as popular as the first two, TaxAct also offers a number of features that you won't find elsewhere.
Assures peace of mind. If you don't feel comfortable submitting your taxes online, you can fill out their forms online and then download them and mail them instead.
Receive support. TaxAct provides video tutorials on how to do your taxes as well as provides tax help and audit support, even if you use their free edition.
Offer additional incentives. Use TaxAct and you'll be in the running for some cash and prize sweepstakes.
All of these programs promise that, no matter what your filing status, they'll find deductions and credits to maximize your refund. All also allow you to import data from last year to cut down on the time it takes to file this year (for a small fee).
While these are the best of the best, there are plenty of other e-filing programs, many of which are free, especially if you earned less than $58,000 in 2013. For more e-filing options, be sure to check out the IRS website.
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Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she's scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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