Yep. It is that dreaded time of year. Tax Time! Not much fun to do, but well worth it if you are anticipating a refund!
But, in order to get a refund, you will want to be sure that you aren’t deducting something you shouldn’t….like….for example…..claiming the CFL Bulbs you bought were an energy efficient addition to your home. Naughty – Naughty! That one could just land you a very cozy, one-on-one, intimate visit with your local IRS Auditor. And really – wouldn’t we all rather just stay as far a way from that one as possible?
Your solution — use a tax preparation software service to assist you. There are many on the market and some will let you file for free. Most will help guide you through the preparation services and can help you to locate those hidden deductions and maximize your refund. Here are a couple that I have heard of and actually used and would feel comfortable recommending. Both offer free basic tax preparation and e-filing (where you electronically submit your refund and get your money faster).
Turbo Tax OnLine
You can also go to a tax preparer such as Jackson Hewitt or H&R Block. You can go to either preparer right now and even save $20.00. Click here for a coupon for Jackson Hewitt or here to print one off to use at H&R Block.
Be very careful of getting any cash advance cards or other gift cards in lieu of, or in advance of, your refund. There can be hidden fees, so you want to carefully review the fine print before agreeing to these.
If you don’t have all of your forms yet, just relax. Employers, Banks, Investment Companies, and the like all have until January 31, 2009 to have this MAILED to you….meaning postmarked by that date and not necessarily in your hot little hands. So, if you don’t have your forms, just be patient and give it a little time to arrive. If you are still missing items by February 10th, then you can start letting your fingers do the walking so you can find out what is going on. Perhaps you moved and forgot to get them your new address. Things like this happen all of the time. Just always be courteous…..you will get much further if you are.
Finally, remember that you have until April 15th to get these filed (unless you file an extension), but why put off the inevitable. I mean, we all know the two guarantees in life are death and taxes and to be honest, I think I’d rather deal with my taxes right now than the other one!