This giveaway is now closed. Thanks for stopping by. The winners are Austin B, Susan, Kelly D, and Kristina E. Congrats!
The tax forms have been coming in, which means we’re already entrenched in tax season. While April 15th is the last day to file, I recommend beginning the process early to ensure you’ve gathered all of the information necessary to thoroughly complete your return. But should you do your own taxes or hire an expert? For years we e-filed our own returns using an at home software program like H&R Block, and always found the process to be seamless. And now that we live in a highly digitized age, filing your own taxes can be as easy as downloading and filing via a mobile app!
This year, H&R Block introduced a series of tax preparation products designed to personalize at-home preparation and offer taxpayers easy ways to file on-the-go. Whether you prefer to file online, in an H&R Block Tax Office, or with the assistance of a tax professional via video conference, H&R Block has a solution that will fit your needs and lifestyle. Depending on your tax situation, you may even be able to file for FREE! Simply visit H&R Block’s website and take a short quiz to determine which solution would be optimal for you.
Whether you opt to do your own taxes at home or utilize a tax professional, H&R Block offers several valuable resources to help you prepare your taxes without error. Here is a brief overview of their mobile tax apps and at home software:
Some of the changes you’ll find with this year’s new H&R Block at Home products include real-time tax advice offered by a registered tax professional, Deduction Pro, a popular tool used to calculate the value of charitable deductions, and a condensed interview based on information from a prior year’s return for those who have used H&R Block to file their tax returns. One of the most attractive things about H&R Block’s products and services is that they are backed by the expertise of The Tax Institute at H&R Block and guarantee the maximum refund (isn’t that what we’re all hoping for?). Below you’ll find information on how you can win one of four H&R Block At Home Premium Services. But before you file, what do you need to know about the changes implemented this year?
The IRS announced a delay – The IRS began processing e-filed returns on January 30, eight days later than expected this year. There are a few forms that the IRS will not update until February or March, but 98 percent of taxpayers’ returns can be processed beginning January 30.
Payroll tax holiday has expired – While it doesn’t impact your tax return, it certainly may affect your everyday financial decisions as 160 million American workers will see their take-home pay decrease. The 2-percent payroll tax holiday, which amounted to an automatic raise for workers in 2011 and 2012, expired at the end of the year. So, if you earn $50,000 you have probably seen a $1,000 decrease in your take-home pay over the course of the year.
Millions may be eligible to claim casualty losses – Victims of Hurricane Sandy may be able to claim a casualty loss for any damages not covered by insurance. Claiming a casualty loss as an itemized deduction could mean significant tax savings for millions of taxpayers. Losses in a federally declared disaster area in 2012 can be claimed on either an amended 2011 return or a 2012 return.
Energy credits have been extended – Taxpayers may claim energy-efficiency credits for up to 10 percent of the cost of eligible home improvements, such as energy efficient windows and doors or insulation, with a maximum lifetime credit of $500. If taxpayers already claimed credits equal to or greater than $500 in previous years, then they cannot claim the credit on a 2012 return.
Education credits extended – The American Opportunity Credit was extended through 2017, allowing taxpayers to claim up to $2,500 for each of the first four years of college for each student. Through 2013, the Tuition and Fees Deduction provides a reduction in taxable income of up to $4,000. The Lifetime Learning Credit is worth up to $2,000 per return for post-secondary degree programs. These education benefits cannot be combined for the same student, so taxpayers should choose the one that is most beneficial. Also, with today’s average college graduate having more than $25,000 in student loan debt, they should remember to deduct student loan interest.
Health care reform – 22 million consumers will be impacted by the Affordable Care Act, which is the biggest tax code change in more than 20 years. Filing a 2012 tax return may make it easier for many individuals and families to enroll in health insurance through a government sponsored exchange beginning October 2013. It’s important this tax season to learn about what tax benefits may be available to you and your family to help cover the cost of health care, and H&R Block can help.
Whether you plan to file from your smartphone, iPad, computer, or at a tax office, H&R Block can help streamline the process with its tax products and services. I highly recommend visiting the site where you’ll find everything from tax calculators and tips to filing resources, support, and more.
Win It! FOUR of you will win H&R Block At Home Premium! Simply leave me a comment telling me one thing you learned from the site. Comments will close on March 15th, 2013 at 11:59 PM PST.
US Residents only. Duplicates and comments not including the above information will be disqualified. Comments are moderated. If you don’t see your comment in a reasonable amount of time, send me an email. Bloggers and non-bloggers may enter. If you don’t want to leave your email address, please be sure to check back for my announcement on the winner. Please note that winners must respond within 48 hours of being announced/contacted or another winner will be drawn.
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No compensation was received for this post. H&R Block provided online tax filing services which helped facilitate the writing of this post.
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