I'm sure I could go the completely free route and use the IRS forms as they are posted at the library and online at www.irs.gov. But considering my last attempt, I think I will be better off using some type of software.
I have been looking for the right type of software and was impressed with the variety of programs available. To figure out which one, I thought it best to determine needs first. Here's my short list (your's may be totally different):
- Online functionality - keep it in the cloud. Since I have kids, my computer is likely to have kool-aid or marshmallows on it at any time. I didn't want to risk losing all my info by housing it locally.
- Easy to use. I wonder if accountants help the IRS keep directions so complex that average folks will need their help. We all need a tax product that is easy to understand and simple to enter information.
- Tracks deductions. We track everything - it must be our Type A personalities. We itemize deductions each year, so I want to be able to capture that information.
- Business income. I need to be able to account for my work with a K-1 statement, so I considered that in my decision as well.
- Two-State filing. We live in SC but my husband works in NC, so we have to file in two states.
After reviewing several of the product sites, my head started swimming. Then I found Top-Ten Reviews website that put all their tax software reviews on one page. In this case, how the product performs was much more important to me than the price. I figured my savings would be from doing it myself as opposed to paying someone - and all the options available were cheaper than that.
For our situation, I liked all the features of TurboTax as well as the Audit Support and optional Audit Defense. You may find that another option suits your needs better, so go with what works for you. Also, I found a product discount through Vanguard, so that made it even better.
Next stop: organization.