It is that time of year again when you should start thinking about your 2009 taxes. I have been using computer tax software to prepare my taxes since 1996, and I plan to do so again this year. Once again, the two main contenders are TurboTax and H&R Block At Home (formerly known as TaxCut). I have not yet decided which of these software products I will use, although I have been using the H&R Block product for the last several years.
Anyway, the point of this post is to mention that TurboTax is once again offering to answer personal tax questions for free. They have IRS-Enrolled Agents and tax preparers available to help you with your tax question. To get started, you need to submit your question through their website: www.freetaxquestion.com. A tax advisor will research your question and give you a phone call to discuss your tax issue. Questions about this offer should be directed to TurboTax; contact Alexandra Cuccias (Alexandra@outcastpr.com) with any questions.
There are a couple of catches to the offer. First, it appears you that can only submit a question between the hours of 8am and 5pm PST, Monday to Friday. Second, this free offer is only valid through January 31, 2010. So, you need to be organized enough to know what tax question you want to ask before then. My criticism here is that the average person doesn't even get started with their taxes until February or March. By that time, it will be too late to take advantage of this free service. After January 31, TurboTax will charge $23.95 for this advice. In the past, H&R Block had a similar free offer, but I have not heard if they will be offering that service again this tax year
Getting back to tax preparation software, I have usually chosen TaxCut because it is generally cheaper than TurboTax. Also, I have usually been able to get a free copy of Microsoft Money Deluxe with the purchase of TaxCut. However, MS Money has been discontinued by Microsoft, and H&R Block is no longer offering any free financial software with the purchase of their tax software. Some retailers are offering a free copy of Quicken Starter Edition 2010 with the purchase of TurboTax, but that version of Quicken would be too underpowered for my circumstances.
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