Tax advice from a computer: Do you need tax software? Five questions to ask.
Tax advice comes in many forms: from IRS forms, accountants, and tax preparers. So do you need a computer to fill out your forms? Most low- and middle-class Americans qualify to use tax software for free. But if you have to pay for it, is the software worth it? Here are a five questions to help you decide:
1. How much money do you make?
Tax software is an especially interactive way to dispense tax advice. Several years ago, the IRS enlisted a few tax-software companies, including TurboTax and CompleteTax, to offer free filing of federal returns for people with adjusted gross income below a certain amount. This year, the cutoff is $58,000, which would allow about 70 percent of all taxpayers to file for free. Taxpayers in that category can choose to file using one of 17 companies listed on the IRSâ€™s website. In most cases, however, taxpayers cannot use the software to file state tax returns for free.
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