In the spring of 2015, Californians were forced to start thinking very carefully about how much water they used. After four years of drought, Governor Jerry Brown imposed water restrictions throughout the state, ordering cities and towns to cut their water usage by an average of 25%. Cars went unwashed; lawns slowly turned brown, or else were replaced with drought-tolerant plants and mulch. Residents who broke the new rules faced fines of up to $500 per day.
“Disruption” is all the rage these days. Countless startups now sell themselves as disruptors – concepts perfectly positioned to shake up their industries and create hitherto undreamed-of value for consumers. Uber and Lyft are Exhibit A and B, respectively, for successful disruption: They teamed up to popularize ridesharing, a brand-new form of transportation, and brought the taxi business to its knees in the process.
If you’ve prepared your tax return online before, you’re probably aware of the usual tax prep suspects: H&R Block, TurboTax, TaxAct, and TaxSlayer, to name just several. They all make it easy and relatively affordable (some more than others) to prepare your taxes in the comfort of your own home.
TaxPoint almost certainly isn’t on that list, mostly because it’s a relatively new company with limited name recognition. Maybe it should be though. TaxPoint has many advantages working in its favor: It’s run by a CPA, it’s cheaper than many competitors, and it has a user-friendly interface that appeals to novices and experienced filers alike.
Liberty Tax Online is an online tax prep program created and distributed by Liberty Tax, one of the United States’ leading tax prep companies. It’s backed by a thousands-strong, coast-to-coast network of Liberty Tax branches, at least one of which is probably within easy driving distance of your home. If you get stumped at any point during the filing process, you can seamlessly transfer your halfway-done return to a physical Liberty Tax office – a nice fallback that online-only competitors can’t offer.
Paying bail to get out of jail may seem like a simple concept. The idea is that if someone gets arrested, someone else can pay money and the jailed person goes free. And while that is the essential idea behind bail, there is more that goes into the process.
Often, people who have not gone through the criminal justice system are confronted with a bail situation but are not sure what to do. If you are arrested and have to pay $100,000 in bail, does that mean you will have to stay in jail if you cannot afford to pay the entire amount? Can someone else pay? Can you hire a bondsman to pay for you? How do you go about doing that?
The term “financial independence” gets thrown around a lot in personal finance articles and blogs, and not everyone uses it the same way. To some people, financial independence simply means earning enough to pay your bills, so you don’t have to depend on help from your family or the government. To others, it means being free of debt, so you don’t have to rely on credit to make ends meet.
Jackson Hewitt is a well-known tax preparation service that helps millions of Americans prepare and file their taxes each year. There’s a good chance you’ve seen a Jackson Hewitt storefront office in your town – there are several thousand outposts spread around the United States.
You’re probably less familiar with Jackson Hewitt Online, the popular company’s online tax prep and filing service. Jackson Hewitt Online offers tax preparation assistance for taxpayers in a wide range of circumstances, from simple situations that can be completed with Form 1040EZ or 1040A, to more complicated scenarios involving investments, business income, and itemized deductions.
E-file.com is a low-cost online tax preparation software company that offers free tax prep and filing for anyone who qualifies for a 1040EZ and boasts that most 1040EZ filers can complete their returns in 15 minutes or less.
E-file.com is not to be conflated with IRS e-file, which is the general process of filing your federal taxes online. Though somewhat confusingly named, E-file.com is merely one of many private companies authorized to e-file tax returns with the Federal Government. Its most popular competitors include established online tax prep companies such as TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxAct, as well as newer, leaner upstarts such as TaxHub, Greanlight, and TaxPoint.
What does the American Dream mean to you? For many, it means having financial security, and having the ability to provide an education to children, take care of parents, retire comfortably, or remain independent while growing old.
But achieving financial security is not easy. A 2015 Pew Research Poll suggests that more than half of Americans are not financially prepared for the unexpected, or otherwise spend more than they make each month. 8 of 10 Americans worry about their lack of savings. At the same time, most Americans recognize that regularly saving and investing a portion of their income is the foundation of financial security. While savings accounts are a critical component in an investment plan with their low risk and high liquidity, most investors need the higher potential returns of equity ownership.
Although TaxSlayer doesn’t blow competition like TurboTax and H&R Block out of the water, it is superior in several important ways. Most notably, it’s cheaper than many better-known alternatives. If cost is an important consideration in your choice of an online tax prep program, that’s a huge selling point.
However, starting with the 2015 tax year, its free version is no longer able to handle complex tax situations. Instead, it’s only suitable for filers who can complete their returns using IRS Form 1040-EZ.