About · Press · Contact · Write For Us · Top Personal Finance Blogs
Featured In:
Kira Botkin
Kira is a longtime blogger and serial entrepreneur who enjoys gardening, garage sales, and finding stray animals. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, where football is a distinct season, and by day runs a research study for people with multiple sclerosis. She hopes that the MoneyCrashers team can help you achieve your goals and live a great life.

eSmart Tax Review 2014 – Free Online Tax Filing

By Kira Botkin

esmarttaxThe eSmart Tax service, previously called CompleteTax, was purchased in early 2013 by Liberty Tax Service and subsequently renamed. However, despite the change in name, the eSmart Tax online tax filing software remains largely the same product, designed to help you file your taxes online for a low price. If your tax filing is relatively simple, eSmart Tax can help you file for free. However, more complicated tax situations cost more, and you may find that some of your forms aren’t supported.

eSmart Tax offers three versions at different price points that address situations from simple to moderately complex.

Click to continue reading...

What’s the Best Online Tax Preparation Software? TaxACT vs TurboTax vs H&R Block

By Kira Botkin

taxes-online-computerAround February 1st, advertisements for tax preparation services start flooding TVs, radios, and newspapers. Every company wants you to know how great its services are, and that it can get you a bigger refund and will make tax filing easier for you. Essentially, tax preparation companies tell you anything they think will appeal to you and get you to use their service.

However, not all tax services are created equal. Many have significant benefits and drawbacks when compared to other services and for different tax situations. What follows is a comparison of three of the largest tax prep services: H&R Block, TurboTax, and TaxACT.

Click to continue reading...

IRS Tax Form 1099-MISC – Instructions for Small Businesses & Contractors

By Kira Botkin

In an effort to help make filing taxes easier this year, we are breaking down the various IRS tax forms to help you know if you need them, and how to use them.

1099 misc tax formIf you’re a freelancer or run a small business and use independent contractors, you’re probably familiar with the 1099-MISC form. This form is used to report income to freelancers, independent contractors, and other self-employed individuals who, as their own employer, are generally responsible for paying the employer’s and employee’s portion of taxes.

Thanks to its versatility, businesses and clients use the 1099-MISC form for many different kinds of transactions. It’s very useful, but also potentially confusing because of all the data it can hold.

Click to continue reading...

TurboTax Review 2014 – Online Tax Preparation Software

By Kira Botkin

intuit turbotax logoTurboTax is the most popular tax filing program, and with the many different options available, there’s a fit for most anyone. It was the top-rated, best-selling tax software last year, and is likely to continue that trend. With the clean, streamlined design and step-by-step interview, this program is a great choice for novices, but does also offer support for more advanced tax situations.

With multiple apps, including a full-featured iPad app that supports all the versions, TurboTax is a product that has kept up with the times.

Click to continue reading...

H&R Block Review 2014 – Online Tax Filing & Preparation

By Kira Botkin

hr block logoH&R Block prepares about one in every seven tax returns in the U.S., making it one of the best-known names in the business. With more than 10,000 offices, it has a presence in practically every city in America – but you don’t actually have to leave your house to file.

H&R Block offers many of the advantages of its office-based services but at a lower cost and greater convenience.

Click to continue reading...

Key Features

  • Accurate Calculations Guaranteed. H&R Block guarantees an accurate calculation and the biggest possible tax refund you qualify for. If you’re assessed penalties for miscalculation, it pays them, including interest.

TaxACT Review 2014 – Free Online Tax Software

By Kira Botkin

taxact logoThough it doesn’t have the name recognition of TurboTax or H&R Block, TaxACT is a competitive tax preparation program that offers online federal filing for free, regardless of your income. It gives you the ability to complete an extremely wide variety of tax forms both online or on your computer after download, all at very attractive prices.

However, with those prices come a few flaws. But if you’d like to complete your taxes without spending an arm and a leg this year, TaxACT may be the right program for you.

Click to continue reading...

Top 5 Options for Free Online Tax Preparation Software & Services

By Kira Botkin

tax timeWhile it certainly can be worth the money to hire a professional to prepare your taxes, you may be able to avoid paying any money at all if your personal finances aren’t too complicated. There’s no need to pay more than your fair share in taxes – and similarly, there’s no need to pay extra when preparing them.

There are many excellent tax preparation services available online, many of which charge very little, and others that charge nothing. Keep in mind that many services only file your federal taxes for free, requiring that you either complete your state forms using another method or pay a fee to have them filed along with the federal tax forms. Still, you can save a ton of money by doing taxes with the assistance of one of these programs.

Click to continue reading...

How to File Your Tax Return – 2014 Basics & Guide

By Kira Botkin

taxes glassesDoing your own taxes can be confusing, but it’s a life skill that all financially informed people should develop. We’ve gathered information to help you learn about tax basics, prepare for completing your return, and understand the various credits and deductions you may be entitled to.

But it’s not all over once you file. You need to know what might happen after you file and tips to prepare for next year.

Tax Basics

History of Income Taxes in America – Taxes have played an important role in the formation of the United States, and understanding their history helps us understand the tax system today and American history, in general.

Click to continue reading...

What Is a 1098 IRS Tax Form – 1098-C, 1098-E, 1098-T

By Kira Botkin

In an effort to help make filing taxes easier this year, we are breaking down the various IRS tax forms to help you know if you need them, and how to use them.

There are multiple versions of Form 1098: the 1098, the 1098-C, 1098-E, and 1098-T.

1098 Form

1098

The original 1098 form is used to report mortgage interest to the Federal Government, as well as to the person who paid the interest. That person can then deduct the interest they paid on Schedule A.

Click to continue reading...

Taxes on Government Benefits – Unemployment, Social Security, Disability & More

By Kira Botkin

social security money government benefitsYou may think that government benefits are tax-free, but that isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, several of the most common benefits claimed by Americans – unemployment, Social Security, and disability – do generate a tax bill. If you receive government benefits, understanding and keeping track of what will be taxed is key to getting the most out of the program and not being in for any unpleasant surprises.

At first glance, this may seem difficult, but there are several fairly simple steps to understanding how much tax you must pay on your benefits each year.

Click to continue reading...

What Is IRS Capital Gains & Losses Tax – Calculate Rates & Deductions

By Kira Botkin

capital gains moneyWhether you’re new to the world of investing, or you’re thinking of selling stocks, bonds, or real estate you’ve had for some time, it is important to consider how you’ll be taxed on those items.

Since you only pay taxes on the profit you make, it’s necessary to keep good records from the time you acquire them through the sale process. Depending on when you acquired the assets and when you sell them, you could substantially alter how much you’ll pay.

Below are the definitions and general tax rules for capital gains and losses.

Click to continue reading...

Filing Taxes After Divorce – Tax Implications & Claiming Children

By Kira Botkin

divorce taxes childThere are many unfortunate effects of a divorce, as it tends to complicate every aspect of your everyday life. In addition to the many challenges it presents, you must work to untangle your financial situation, and following a complicated divorce, tax issues become even more complex than they already were.

If you’ve been through a divorce, then you know how tough it is to prepare for every situation. Fortunately, the IRS has a comprehensive list of circumstances for divorced and separated individuals in its Publication 504.

Click to continue reading...

Tax Deductions for Charitable Contributions & Donations

By Kira Botkin

donation boxAs you may know, you can deduct qualified charitable contributions on your taxes – and this is one reason why December is such a great month for many charities. Not only is everyone  is in the holiday spirit, but they are also preparing for tax season.

However, beyond simply writing a check, there are many other ways you can help the less fortunate while lowering your tax bill. The IRS gives generous allowances for many types of donated items, but it’s up to you to save your records and know how much you’re entitled to deduct.

Click to continue reading...

Do I Have to File Taxes and How Much Do I Need to Make?

By Kira Botkin

file taxes womanFiling taxes is nobody’s idea of a good time. The process can be lengthy, confusing, financially straining, and even downright intimidating. However, while many people have tons of questions about tax filing, there’s one that’s not often asked: Do I even need to file a tax return? You may be one of the lucky few who can avoid the process entirely.

There are three factors that determine your filing requirement: age, income level, and filing status. Generally, if you earned less than a specified amount according to those three factors, you won’t have to file.

Click to continue reading...

Form 1040X Instructions – How to File an Amended Tax Return

By Kira Botkin

1040x tax formIf you spent days poring over your tax return this year and mailed it in by the tax filing deadline, only to discover that you forgot to claim the computer that you bought as a work deduction, don’t fret. You can still claim this deduction, as well as fix any other errors you may have made.

Essentially, the IRS allows you a “do-over” on your taxes. You can fix any mistakes after your initial tax filing, by utilizing Form 1040X. And you may have more time to do so than you think.

Click to continue reading...

The content on Money Crashers is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor. References to products, offers, and rates from third party sites often change. While we do our best to keep these updated, numbers stated on this site may differ from actual numbers.
Advertising Disclosure: We may have financial relationships with some of the companies mentioned on this website. Among other things, we may receive free products, services, and/or monetary compensation in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products or services. We strive to write accurate and genuine reviews and articles, and all views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.
Links monetized by VigLink