Tag Archives: online tax filing

Tax Season 2016 – Tax Prep Apps of the Week

The Internet rapidly automated so many things including filing your taxes.  Because of technology and software advances as many as 80 percent of Americans can and do prepare their own taxes using various software and web services.  

Many African-Americans access the web using smartphones. Because of this we need to examine some very good apps that can help you if decide to do your own taxes using your smartphone. These apps are designed to allow you to record and prepare financial records and even file taxes directly from your smartphone. These are the Apps of the Week.

 

IRS2GoIRS2Go – This is the official app of the Internal Revenue Service. Although you cannot actually file your taxes using this app you can check the status of your tax refund, make tax payments, and get updates from the IRS. IRS2Go also offers important numbers and times to call and ask questions. You can also sign up for tax hints through the app. For those of you who filed e-taxes you can check on their status with the app within 72 hours.

IRS2Go is free and available for Apple and Android.

 

 

 

 

myblock-mobile-app-dMy BlockUnlike IRS2Go the H&R My Block app is a bit more rich in features. My Block, one of two apps offered by the tax prep giant, allows the user to check their refund status. My Block also offers a robust help section that defines terms and answer basic tax questions. It also offers a checklist that helps the user create a tax filing to-do list along with tools that allow you to estimate the size of your refund. If you have additional questions My Block allows you to set up an appointment at a local H&R Block office.  You can also use My Block to upload documents so your tax pro will have them available during your appointment.

My Block is free and available for Apple and Android.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tax Prtaxprep-mobile-app-deparation – H&R Block’s Tax Preparation is different from its sister app because it actually allows the user to prepare and file tax returns.  Tax Preparation does a neat trick by collecting and importing information directly from a photo of your W-2. The user can select from various versions from free, basic, deluxe to premium editions. The app shows the user what causes their refund to fluctuate, offers cross-platform syncing and status updates on your return. The app also offers advice and free, in-person audit support. 

Tax Preparation is free ad available for Apple and Android.

 

 

 

 

 

 

expensify-logoExpensify – Expensify wasn’t exactly made for preparing taxes. But if you own a business or are self-employed this app can help you get the most from your deductions. Using the app allows the self employed business person or any business owner to capture receipts, track billing hours and travel miles. Expensify allows the user to record any expenses or operating costs. It also automatically imports credit card transactions and scan receipts for expense reports that can later be converted to IRS-approved e-Receipts minimizing paper usage and hopefully any tax-related discrepancies.

Expensify is free and available for Apple and Android.

 

 

Ask a cpaAsk A CPA – Ask A CPA is an app with a host of basic tips encompassing the latest changes in tax law. These tips cover a variety of different categories, from alimony and dividends to adoption expenses and charitable deductions. Ask A CPA also gives the user the opportunity to ask specific questions it hasn’t already covered within the app’s archives. However there have been complaints about the text space available for questions. The coolest feature is that local CPAs in your area answer these questions. Ask A CPA is a powerful resource for owners of small businesses who need answers to common tax questions but also for individual taxpayers.

Ask A CPA is free and available for Apple and Android.

 

Turbo taxTurboTax Preparation – TurboTax Preparation works very similar to its online counterpart. The app offers a wealth of tax-related information and tools for preparing and e-filing your taxes. Like H&R Block’s Tax Preparation  app the TurboTax app can also pull information from a photo of your W-2. It provides step-by-step instructions while seeking out as many as 350 tax deductions and credits intended to maximize your refund.  The app double checks your return and the information you provided as you go.  Once loaded on your different devices the app syncs so you can switch between your iPhone, iPad or computer. 
 

Turbo Tax Preparation is free and available for Apple and Android.

 

 

 

 

 

Tax ActExTaxACT Express –  TaxAct Express is another full service app for filing taxes. It can help with most common tax situations and, like other apps, automatically imports information from a photo of your W-2. The app will track the status of your IRS refund and notify you when it’s been processed. The app also offer free e-filing of state and federal taxes for free. 

Tax ACT Express is free and available for Apple and Android

 

 

 

 

BNABNA Quick Tax Reference – BNA Quick Tax Reference provides some valuable reference material but is not exactly easy to use but then again it is meant for the more financially savvy user.  The user can find tables showing mileage rates, corporate tax rate schedules, individual tax rate schedules, standard deductions, retirement plan limits, and more. If you looking to file back taxes the tables can take you back to 2012. 

BNA Quick Tax Reference is free and available for Apple and Android.

 

 

turbotax-taxcasterTaxCaster – This app is also offered by Intuit makers of the TurboTax products.  TaxCaster is designed for filers with relatively simple taxes and a single job, much like the 1040EZ and 1040A tax forms and you don’t have to sign up to use it. The user simply enter their wages, marital status, earnings, and deductions.  TaxCaster can quickly give you a good idea of what kind of refund you might receive. This fairly simple app won’t  prepare your taxes, but it can give you a good idea what to expect when you do.

TaxCaster is free and available for Apple and Android.

 

 

Tax Season 2016 – Claim Your Refund ASAP!

canstockphoto2986221Tax season 2016 is heating up rapidly. And as we’ve told you it is also scam season. Cyber crooks and identity thieves can’t  wait to use those millions of stolen Social Security numbers to file false claims and reap in millions more in fraudulent refunds. The best advice, whether or not you’re expecting a refund, is file your return as soon as possible! 

The IRS and most state tax agencies won’t get your W-2 information until April. This presents cyber criminals with a window of opportunity to file a fraudulent return using your Social Security number if they have it.  New laws should shorten that time by at least a month next year. But that is no help this year.

 According to the IRS 90 percent of federal refunds will be mailed or deposited within 21 days after returns are filed. But that still gives identity thieves plenty of time to file a fraudulent return before the IRS receives your W-2. 

According to Sandra Block of Kiplinger.com crooks using stolen Social Security numbers claimed $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds in 2013 and the IRS says it blocked phony refunds worth another $24.2 billion.

So again our best advice is to not to wait to file your return. File as soon as you have all your documents. Quickly filing your return and claiming your refund can prevent a thief with your social security number from hijacking your refund before you get it. If you got it they can’t get it!

If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft or your Social Security number has been stolen you can file an Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039) with the IRS. 

Another to place to go if you believe that your identity has been stolen is Identitytheft.gov. This is a one stop comprehensive website to handle identity theft complaints and get you started at recovering your identity.

Even if you’re not concerned about someone stealing your tax refund, you should file early for the following reasons;

  • You will get your refund sooner.
  • You will have more time to plan if you owe money (it’s not due until April 15)
  • You’ll have more time to deal with any issues that come up. Tax firms and accountants are busy this time of year so  don’t wait until the last minute.

Now you know.

Tax Season 2016 – Hackers Attack IRS

irs-logoHackers are hell bent on stealing tax refunds. On Tuesday the IRS announced an attack that occurred last month in which cyber criminals were able to steal taxpayer identification numbers before the Internal Revenue Service detected and shut down the attack. Hackers stole customer “Electronic Filing PINs,” meant to ensure information security. These PINs would enable hackers to file fraudulent tax returns.

More and more Americans are filing their taxes online. Officials expect 80 percent of the 150 million returns will be filed online this tax season. As a result the number of attempts by hackers to file fake returns and steal tax refunds is on the rise.

In a statement the IRS said that the hackers used a sophisticated automated software that used more than 450,000 stolen Social Security numbers to try to generate e-filing PINs. Even though the attack was stopped they were successful in securing about 100,000 PINS.

According to the IRS the SSN’s were “stolen elsewhere outside the IRS.” The agency added, “no personal taxpayer data was compromised or disclosed” by its systems. The IRS said it will notify taxpayers affected by the attack and will flag their accounts to guard against identity theft.

The IRS and the federal government are in possession of incredible amounts of personal data of U.S. citizens, Yet the government appears almost helpless to protect this data from cyber theives. Last year alone the government lost the data, including electronic finger print files,  of over  20 million Americans in a historic data breach of the Office of Personnel Management.

On Tuesday President Barack Obama proposed to spend $19 billion on more-secure technology for the government. If approved by Congress the money would be used to recruit cyber security experts, reducing reliance on unsafe items like SSNs, and overhauling the government’s computers.

Tax Season 2016 – Beware Tax Scams

Courtesy Stuart Miles

Courtesy Stuart Miles

Its tax season again and as always the cyber scum is out to get you. No matter how many warnings are sent out to the tax paying workers of America there is always someone who gets taken (robbed) by a smooth talking criminal. They come at you through the phone, email, snail mail and a even knock at your door. And if you don’t know how to deal with them you are gonna lose money. In many cases a lot of money.

Tax seas0n is scam season so you need to be alert and aware of a few things. First of all make sure you know and completely understand how the IRS works, how they contact you and how they collect money. Without this knowledge you are gonna get robbed. Keep in that most four of five tax returns are filed electronically. Another fact;  out of 10,000 scams tracked by the Better Business Bureau in 2015, nearly a fourth of are tax related. 

Lets talk about how the criminals will come at you this tax season so you don’t become this years sucker.

Phone Extortion  – Going back to 2003 there has been 900,000 phone calls to tax payers claiming to be the IRS and demanding immediate payment or the tax payer will face legal penalties or jail. The scam comes back every year, slightly modified but still the same scam and it still gets plenty of suckers.  

Don’t be that sucker! The IRS will never call you and demand immediate payment…never!  The IRS will send you a letter telling you if you have a tax bill. They will send you more letters if you ignore that one. The letter will have a contact number on it. If you ignore enough letters they will come registered mail. But any demand for immediate payment should be looked upon with deep suspicion. If you have any doubts call the IRS using the number on the website. Never return a call to a number the caller leaves you. Protect yourself and makes sure you know who you are talking to and never every give personal information to some you don’t know.

Phishing emails Cyber criminals send these emails out by the millions. These scum can make a very real looking and exact copies of the IRS logo and website. Check you URL or web address carefully.  You might find it reads www.irs.net or www.irs.us or some other deception. The IRS website address is www.irs.gov.

Don’t be that sucker! The IRS does not send you emails with links or attachments. The IRS does not send out emails period!  Do not fill out any forms attached to an email as you may be giving out enough information to have your identity stolen. So if you get an IRS email delete it. 

The name of the game when it come to your money and information is trust no one. Make them prove everything before you answer a question or send out a dime.

For more information check out these links.

Top 4 Scariest Tax Scams 2015

IRS Tax Scams 2015

IRS.gov – Taxes. Security. Together.