TaxACT Review – Free Online Tax Software

taxact logoAs someone who mixes and matches freelance work, contract jobs, and side income opportunities to earn a living, I have a pretty complicated tax situation. Millions of Americans are in the same boat – independent contractors, small business owners, and folks who earn passive income through investing.

While money may be no object to some, the costs of tax filing definitely matter to me and many taxpayers like me. It’s frustrating, but understandable, that business owners and independents have to pay more to file their taxes with brand-name services like TurboTax and H&R Block.

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eSmart Tax Review – Free Online Tax Filing

esmart tax logoI’m always on the lookout for tools that can help me file my taxes quickly and accurately. One of the products I’ve used recently is eSmart Tax, an online filing service owned and supported by Liberty Tax.

eSmart Tax has a free federal filing option for anyone with a relatively simple tax situation, as well as paid plans that support progressively more complex returns. Unfortunately, there’s no way to file state taxes for free with eSmart. Also, the service’s prices have risen considerably: roughly a 25% jump for federal returns (except the free version), and even more than that for state returns, between 2013 and 2014.

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taxslayer logoAlthough TaxSlayer doesn’t blow competition like TurboTax and H&R Block at Home out of the water, it is superior in several important ways. Most notable, it’s cheaper than many better-known alternatives, and its free version is actually able to handle complex tax situations. If cost is an important consideration in your choice of an online tax prep program, that’s a huge selling point.

TaxSlayer is also quite flexible, allowing you to complete the required forms and schedules with minimal guidance – or, if you prefer, with the help of a “wizard” that emulates more hands-on programs such as H&R Block and TurboTax. If you need help with some parts of your return, but not others, you can use the wizard only for those trickier sections.

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TurboTax Review – Is It the Best Online Tax Preparation Software?

turbotaxTurboTax is one of the most popular online tax preparation and filing software programs in the United States. I’ve personally used it to file my taxes for the past several years. Though I’ve shopped around for (and have reviewed) alternatives, I haven’t yet found a compelling reason to switch. And while I don’t personally qualify, TurboTax’s free filing package is one of the best free tax filing options around.

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10 Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards – Reviews & Comparison

passport travel credit cardsMany of the first rewards cards were credit cards that offered “miles” for purchases, which could be saved and used for purchasing airline tickets. Nowadays, flight restrictions and requirements on travel rewards cards don’t always result in dream vacations.

As a result, many travel rewards cards now award purchases with not only miles, but opportunities for cash back. These options are especially important if you are not a frequent flyer, but still want to carry a travel rewards card. If you fit this description, here are some of the best travel rewards credit cards to meet your needs.

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4 Best Credit Cards for College Students – Reviews & Comparison

college student credit cardWhile college students may need their own credit cards for a number of reasons, the most important reason is to establish and build a positive credit history. However, if handled improperly, credit cards can have an extremely negative impact, and can result in an overwhelming mountain of debt.

As a student, it’s important to choose a credit card that you can easily manage. Furthermore, you must restrain yourself from overspending, and always pay your balances in full and on time. The best options on the market have minimal fees, yet provide student-friendly benefits, as well as excellent opportunities to build credit.

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5 Best Secured Credit Cards to Rebuild Credit – Reviews & Comparison

secured credit cards cashIt’s not easy to repair damaged credit after a series of missed payments or bankruptcy, but with the help of a secured credit card, it is possible. And while secured credit cards sometimes have a bad reputation for having heavy fees and high interest rates (which can exacerbate debt), the right card can help you build your credit history.

When choosing a secured credit card, it is important to pay attention to fees, and verify that your payment history will be reported to the credit bureaus. Prepaid cards function similarly to debit cards – therefore, your usage of a prepaid card is not reported to the bureaus, doing nothing to improve your credit.

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9 Best Low APR Interest Credit Cards – Reviews & Comparison

credit cards walletIf you regularly carry credit card balances, it is important that you choose a credit card featuring a low interest rate, rather than a rewards credit card. Rewards cards generally have high APRs, and should only be used by those who can pay off the entire balance each month.

Many low interest options are simple, “plain vanilla” credit cards designed to allow you to make purchases and transfer balances without paying a significant amount of interest. However, some low interest cards buck industry trends and offer small bonuses and rewards programs. Here are a number of the best low APR cards available based both on the rates they charge and the rewards they offer.

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8 Best Cash Back Credit Cards – Reviews & Comparison

credit card cash pocketAmong rewards credit cards, cash back cards are the most popular. Instead of offering bonuses that can only be redeemed for airline miles or hotel stays, cash back cards reward you for your purchases with actual cash that, for the most part, can be used however you like.

An important factor in determining which cards are the best cash back credit cards is how much cash is received per dollar spent, and whether it is possible to earn enough cash back to compensate for the cost of carrying the credit card. Keep in mind that in order to maximize your earning potential on any reward card, it is recommended that you pay your balance in full each month in order to avoid paying interest on purchases.

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10 Best Hotel Rewards Credit Cards – Reviews & Comparison

hotel stayThe best hotel credit cards reward purchases with free nights in hotels while also providing extra perks and annual bonuses that make choosing a particular hotel brand more comfortable. Special amenities such as free breakfasts, free room upgrades, and free Internet service – in addition to the opportunities to earn free night stays – often compensate for fees the card may charge. Considering these benefits, hotel credit cards can be worth several hundred dollars.

Of course, not all hotel credit cards are created equal. If you travel frequently, ensure that you get the best possible deal by selecting one of the very best hotel credit cards to earn the most free nights and the greatest perks.

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