Taxes are not due for another two-three months, but if you are expecting a refund, you’ll want to file right now. I use to do my taxes the old fashion way. You know, fill in the tax forms by hand and do all the calculations on a spreadsheet or a calculator. Then a few years ago, I decided to try out the H&R Block tax software and they spotted tax credits that I was not aware of. H&R Block saved me a couple thousand dollars that year. Ever since then, I have been using H&R Block. And thanks to Office Depot, I’m giving two H&R Block software packages on my dad blog. The software is easy to use, intuitive and hopefully it will save you a bundle too. BTW, in addition to tax software, Office Depot has everything else you need for the tax season. They’re even offering to make a copy of your tax return for free (pdf coupon). Nice!
Before I get to the giveaway, I want to share some tax tip from Office Depot’s finance expert, Farnoosh Torabi. She’s a personal finance journalist, author and TV personality. Her work and advice has been featured in national magazines and newspapers, including Real Simple, Glamour, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Money Magazine, People, Entrepreneur, Newsweek.com, Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Daily News and The New York Post.
Eight Last Minute Tax Tips
- File Online
Choose from a variety of affordable online software to help you file your taxes (H&R Block At Home Deluxe & At Home Business). Note: taxpayers whose adjusted gross income was $58,000 or less in 2010 can file electronically for free via the IRS web site at freefile.IRS.gov.
- Boost IRA Savings
Contributing to a traditional IRA is one of the last ways to really reduce your 2010 taxable income before April 18th. You have until the very last day to contribute to this retirement account and deduct the amount from your taxable income. The dollar limit contribution for 2010 is $5,000 if you’re 49 or younger. $6,000 if you’re age 50 or older.
- Remember the Basics
Be sure to sign and date your 1040. Review your personal identification: social security, address, business ID (for business owners), etc.
- Opt for Direct Deposit
Another perk to filing electronically is that if you’re expecting a refund, you can get your check sent directly to your savings account. And because you avoid snail mail you can probably get paid a week early.
- Add Up All Your Write-Offs
Deductible expenses here and there can add up to big savings come tax day. Job hunting-related expenses such as relocation (50 miles away from current home), travel and meals, copies, faxes, are eligible for a tax deduction. Also, if you are self-employed you may receive deductions for insurance paid out of pocket and any self-employment taxes. Don’t forget deductions for student loan interest and medical savings accounts, too.
- Make a Copy of Your Return
It will come in handy when filling out next year’s return. Plus if you apply for a mortgage or a refinance, banks will want to see your tax return. Keep returns for an average 3 years from when it was filed, during which time the IRS is most likely to audit (if at all).
- Stay Organized
As soon as you’re done filing make sure you keep all your paperwork organized. Your return, your paystubs, your receipts, will all come in handy down the road if (and I hope this doesn’t happen) the IRS decides to audit your return or if there is a discrepancy between the IRS records and what you claimed and you need to prove that, indeed, you filed everything correctly.
- Get an Extension
If you absolutely can’t make the April 18th deadline this year, you can request a six-month extension by filling out the IRS Form 4868.
H&R Block Giveaway
Thanks to Office Depot, I’m giving two versions of H&R Block tax software. One winner will receive At Home Premium & Business ($79.99). Another winner will receive At Home Deluxe ($44.95). To enter the giveaway, click on the product links and let me know which software package you want to win (yes, you can select both). The deadline to enter the giveaway is Monday, February 7th (Pacific time). The giveaway is limited to USA readers only. The winners will be randomly selected. Good luck everyone!
Four Bonus Entries (leave a separate comment for each entry)
- Subscribe to my blog via email:
— don’t forget to click on the confirmation link after you subscribe. Note: you still have to be subscribed when I announce the winner.
- Follow Daddy Forever on Twitter and tweet out a message like this (or use the retweet button below): “Win H&R Block tax software ~ http://daddyforever.com/2011/01/24/farnoosh/” (include your Twitter URL or username in the comments area for verification)
- Click on the Facebook like button below and then write on my Facebook fan page if you have been to Office Depot recently
- Write about this giveaway on your blog or Facebook page with a working link to this page: http://daddyforever.com/2011/01/24/farnoosh/ (include your blog post URL or Facebook username for verification)
[Disclosure: I did not receive any products or compensation for writing this post. Office Depot is not a sponsor or administrator of the giveaway. However, Office Depot is responsible for the giveaway prizes. Daddy Forever (me) is not liable for the prizes. As always, the opinions expressed are mine and I am not obligated to write a positive review.]