Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

Have you filed your taxes yet? January 28, 2011

Filed under: Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 12:07 am

I haven’t filed my taxes yet.  I’ve pretty much done everything I can, but I’m waiting to get my K-1 information from my old job so I can file.  And that usually doesn’t arrive until mid-March.  So, even though I am ready to file, I have to hold off until I get that information, even though it probably wont change my tax situation at all.

I got to thinking about filing my taxes after reading Postgrad Agenda‘s latest post on 5 (Actually Useful) Tax Resources.

So, I thought I’d share some of the resources I’ve found over the years.

A few years ago, I posted about some options for free or discounted tax preparation software.  I’ll remind you of them, and include some new ones, below:

TurboTax Online Discounts:

First off, if you have a really easy return, you can use their free version for your Federal returns, and it looks to be ~$28/state filing, though you could probably get it cheaper using the next discount.

Fidelity:  Save 25% off Federal and State products.  In addition, you can access the “Basic” version, a cheaper blend between the free and Deluxe versions.

Bank of America:  Save 35% off Federal products.

Chase:  Save 35% off Federal products.  Not sure if you have to pay your taxes with your Chase card to be eligible.

Those are the best 3 discounts I’ve found.  You can also get 10% off  Federal products through RetailMeNot.com.

If you don’t love TurboTax (it’s what I’ve used every year since graduation), there are a lot of other online options.

TaxAct:

They have a good free federal option, as well as a relatively cheap fancier version (deluxe) at $9.95 or deluxe federal + state return for $17.95.  I’m not as familiar with their product, so anyone with experience with TaxAct, let me know what you think of it.

IRS’s FreeFile:

If your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is less than $58,ooo, you can use one of these tax preparation sites for free.  If you want some help figuring out which site to use, you can answer a few questions to narrow down the list.  Some companies just offer free Federal filing, but some also offer free State filing as well.

If your AGI is more than $58,000, you can still e-file for free.  You can access the forms you need and fill them out through FreeFile by following the link here.

So, have you filed your taxes yet?  Did you use one of the methods mentioned above (or in Postgrad Agenda’s post)?  Did you owe money or get a refund?  Right now, it looks like I’ll get a tiny refund.  Tiny enough that I really couldn’t have changed my withholding enough to not “give Uncle Sam an interest free loan”.  So I’m fine with that.

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9 Responses to “Have you filed your taxes yet?”

  1. I haven’t filed my taxes yet either as I’m still waiting on some K1 information from a partnership that I’m involved in! As a tax preparer though, I agree with the options that you listed in your post and would suggest using a well known source to file your taxes. Be careful with the “free sites” on the internet because you are virtually releasing all of your financial information over the internet and want to be sure that it doesn’t get into the wrong hands as that can lead to identity theft. Stick with the turbo tax, tax act or the IRS website if you are under the threshold to be safe!

  2. Watch out for Turbo Tax! They are slightly evil. If you make less than a certain amount, you can file state and federal for free, but you can’t use the turbotax free version, you have to use the freedom file version (or else you will get charged for state tax filing). And once you start the free version, you can’t transfer back. You have to start all over again.

    I think you can use the free (not freedom file) no matter how much you make as long as you only use the 1040 EZ and you keep track of your own forms year to year, but you still have to pay to file state taxes electronically.

    For the deluxe version, which keeps track of all your old returns for you, and imports data from the previous year, they are still pretty tricky. They tell you it’s only 20$ (this starts at 30$, but if you start filling out the free edition, they will offer it to you for only 20$), but then they charge you 36$ to file your state taxes (which they don’t tell you until the very end!). *Then* they charge you another 30$ as a “Refund processing service fee!!”

    The 36$ for state taxes, I believe is unavoidable if you make more than a certain amount (unless you paper file). It doesn’t tell you how to avoid the Refund processing service fee or even what it is! So after some googling, I discovered that it is what they charge you if you choose to have your preparation payment to turbotax taken out of your refund. If you just pay with a credit card immediately, you won’t be charged this.

    whew. Filled them out last night. Haven’t submitted them yet.

    • Stephanie Says:

      I haven’t had too much of a problem with Turbo Tax, though one time I did opt to a higher level version of the federal prep, and then I couldn’t get back down to the cheaper option! But yeah, there are definitely some cheap ways to file.
      I didn’t have the problem of paying so much extra for state taxes. And for that Refund Processing Fee, usually just pay by credit card to avoid paying extra.

  3. Eric Says:

    I’m going to have to check these out to see what my best option is! I’m glad to see a taxpaying veteran like yourself (compared to myself, at least!) sharing resources; it never hurts to consider a few more services.

    I don’t think I’ll be filing for another few weeks. I’m actually not sure if one of my short-lived jobs at school will be sending a W-2 or not, so I’m waiting on that. If not, I guess I’ll have to let the pocket-change (almost literally) go unreported. I call it “living life on the edge!”

  4. MoneyMaus Says:

    I finished my taxes and received my federal & state refunds last Friday! I got $1005 back total. I used TaxACT for the past 3 yrs since I graduated and started filing my own taxes. The basic version is free for federal and $14.95 for state, which is the best deal I’ve found. My taxes are SUPER easy with just my W-2 and some 1099-INT forms. Good luck! 🙂

  5. Elizabeth Says:

    This is a great run-down. I’m a 900 year old trapped in a 28 year old’s body, so I never think to e-file. I should probably get with the program, eh?

    • Stephanie Says:

      Yes, get with the program! 😛
      But e-filing using those sites is pretty easy, and it doesn’t cost anything extra to e-file. Plus you get your refund faster 🙂

  6. […]  I finally filed my taxes.  I used the Fidelity discount for Turbo Tax that I mentioned in a previous post.  My refunds are going to […]


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