The tax filing season is underway and by now you should have received your various forms (1099s, W-2s, etc.) in the mail or online. Ok, not really a great time of the year, especially if you think you are going to owe, but there are options for taking some of the sting out from the filing process. For less complicated tax filing, 1040EZ, for example, you can file these forms for free and even by phone. Uncle Sam has a list of pre-approved providers that will allow you to do this. H&R Block, for example, is one of them.
For more complicated filing, 1040 forms, etc. you will definitely want to use tax filing software. Typically, a “wizard” will guide you through a series of questions, asking for various data inputs, such as income, dividends, donations, and withholdings. You might just find a deduction to which you weren’t aware. Bonus tip: if you used one of these programs last year, they might have key information, such as your employer’s, and other key info, already populated for you. Expect to pay $40 or more if you plan on filing both Federal and State taxes this way. It’s worth it.
Tax filing incentives
Now, if you are lucky enough to have a refund due you, one way to ensure your refund processes as soon as possible is with direct deposit. Just add your checking account and routing numbers at the bottom of the form. Also, you might want to consider applying for American Express Serve, the pre-paid card and bill pay service, (I am an account holder). They are teaming up with Turbo Tax to offer free tax filing. By adding your Serve routing and account numbers to your return, the IRS will send your funds directly to your Serve account. From there, you can transfer the funds to yourself, quickly pay bills for free, send to friends or family, or just set them aside for later. Setting the refund aside may help you avoid spending it frivolously.
Walmart is getting more involved in the tax filing business as well by partnering up with Jackson Hewitt, the tax preparation service. At select Walmart’s, you can file your taxes with Jackson Hewitt and receive a $50 Walmart egift card. You can also file them online using this link and receive a $20 egift card.
These are just a few of the many offers out there, and this article lists several more for you to consider.
Tax filing may not be much fun, but these tips might take away some of the pain in doing them.