Online tax help: What you need to know before you file - KMSP-TV

Online tax help: What you need to know before you file

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By Brenda Buttner, FOX News

Have you filed your taxes yet?  If not, you're not alone -- but tax experts say don't wait until the April 15th deadline.  Here's what you need to know before filing your taxes online.

Hiring a professional tax preparer can be pricey and the Internal Revenue Service is reporting a 7.5 percent increase in people taking on the task themselves.

But with so many do-it yourself tax software options, which is the vest for you?

For military personnel and small businesses, experts recommend Turbo Tax.  Previous users will notice major changes to the program's interface, which makes it easier to read and navigate.

H&R Block has their own software package which is best for both simple and complex returns, and for those who may need in-person support.

"You can actually pick up your stuff and go to one of their retail locations and get in-person support at their offices basically.  There's a price to pay for that, but of course that is an option for consumers who need that extra help," said Andrew Poulos, a tax software reviewer.

Tax Act software is best for stock investors and Tax Slayer is good for those who don't need much support and is great for our troops.

"The great thing about Tax Slayer is that they pay tribute to the military by offering totally free filling to the military for federal and state filings," said Poulos.

If you own a small business or have had major changes in your life, such as a marriage or divorce, it might be wise to see a financial expert in person.

"Houses, rental properties, stocks, investments, foreign bank accounts, I mean taxes can get so complex and it just doesn't take much to get it wrong.  There's something to be said for doing it yourself, but there's truly no substitute to having a highly qualified licensed professional helping you do it, no matter what that prices might be," said Poulos.

If your 2013 adjusted gross income was $58,000 or less, you can prepare and e-file a federal tax return free at IRS.gov.

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