Almost nothing in life will make you as nervous consistently as doing your taxes. There’s so much nuance involved, so many things to consider that it’s easy to get lost in the entire affair. Everything from filing the right forms to making sure that you check the right boxes boggles some people’s minds. Online tax services available directly through your Windows machine’s web browser are a great way to keep the confusion to a minimum this year.
These services help take the guess-work out of filing. They do this with parsed, easy to understand questions about the life you had in 2015. You tell these tax services what your situation was and they guide you through all the basic steps. In no time, you’ll be filing your 2015 taxes electronically and furiously checking the IRS’ Where’s My Refund page.
Doing Your 2015 Taxes on Windows: Turbo Tax
It’s no coincidence that you might recognize the names of the most popular online tax services. Each of them started their lives as traditional tax software that you installed on your Windows PC. TurboTax is the biggest of the three household names, and their traditional software is still available.
TubroTax hasn’t changed all that much. The TurboTax Deluxe features both state and federal programs, with access to Schedule A forms. If you have a regular job or receive 1099 forms for being a freelance or independent contractor, this is the version for you. Filing just your federal return with this version costs you $34.99. Adding in state costs another $36.99.
TurboTax Premiere grants users access to the forms and options they need for claiming their financial investments and properly filing any property rentals that they profit from. Besides Schedule A, buyers get access to Schedule D financial instruments. These include ESPPs, socks and bonds. It’s Schedule E that includes “rental property income and tax deductions,” Intuit says. This version costs $54.99. Adding state to that is an additional $36.99, just like with the Standard Edition.
For everything in your life, there’s TurboTax Home & Business. Besides the other forms from cheaper versions, Schedule C items are included in this version, business tax deductions, self-employment and small business income being the big additions. This version costs $79.99, plus the $36.99 add-on for state.
TurboTax is still letting users file simple federal and state returns absolutely free, directly from its website. A recommendation engine here, will guide you to the version that you need to meet your needs.
Doing Your 2015 Taxes on Windows : H&R Block At Home
Doing your taxes with H&R Block is free too, provided that you have a very simple return. To be clear, just the federal return is covered with the free online offer. Filing state returns costs users $9.99 through a web browser or tablet. State returns for Basic, Deluxe and Premium are $36.99 extra for all other versions.
H&R Block Basic includes a single Federal return and importing from other pieces of tax software. It’ll also import 1095 and W-2 forms. If you used the free version last year, it’ll import that information too.
H&R Block Deluxe Edition gets you everything the previous to versions offer, plus deductions on mortgages and real estate taxes. There’s also “Help for reporting investments, dividends, and retirement income,” the company says. This version costs $34.99.
Lastly, there’s H&R Block Premium for $49.99. It picks up Schedule E and Schedule C content for rental expenses and income. There’s also content to help with your self-employment income and any gifts and things that were bequeathed to you, like a house.
Those who want to still install a program on their Windows PC and do their taxes their instead of storing on H&R Block’s servers can to do that. Traditional software downloads are available here.
What You Need to Know
Those are just the two biggest options to choose from. Some people have had a great experience with smaller outfits like TaxAct. If the service isn’t one of these three, you want to be sure that you read reviews before you input any of your personal information or provide a credit card. Look for comments on how easy the interface was to use. Keep a look out for anyone mention additional fees that weren’t made clear up front.
If you decide to go with a program that you install on your Windows machine, remember to save the files that the program leaves for you in a safe place besides your PC, like a flash drive. These files are helpful if anything happens to your PC and you need that information in the future.
Good luck with your 2015 taxes. Note that you don’t even need your computer in some cases. iPhone and Android apps allow you to do your taxes with your smartphone too. Gotta Be Mobile breaks down the apps you need for your taxes here.