Time to Change Your Tax Preparation Method? Five Key Questions to Ask When Making the Switch

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CompleteTax Outlines What to Look for When Considering a Change in Tax Preparation Software

Last year, nearly 35 million taxpayers e-filed their income tax returns from home computers and do-it-yourself online tax preparation is one of the fastest growing ways people are getting their taxes done. Do-it-yourself computer tax preparation and e-filing grew 8 percent last year -- faster than any other method. However, the millions who prepare their own taxes via computer may be wondering if they’re using the best program for their needs, according to CompleteTax® Product Management Director Gary Lundberg.

“Many people mistakenly believe that they’re locked into their existing tax preparation solution and that making a switch would be a major cost or hassle,” said Lundberg. “But that’s not the case -- particularly with online tax preparation. Importing is almost entirely automated. So if you’re not happy, you should shop around and see if there’s an option that better meets your needs.”

In fact, one key benefit of online tax software is that most programs allow taxpayers to try before they buy, meaning customers can start a tax return and experience the program before making a commitment. Additionally, with CompleteTax, taxpayers who import an Adobe® PDF file of their 2009 federal tax return from TurboTax®, TaxACT® or H&R Block® online can get a CompleteTax Premium federal return for free.

According to Lundberg, five key areas to evaluate in shopping around for a new online tax preparation solution include:

1. Speed. How long does it take you to navigate through the program and finish your tax return? If the tax program is not as clear as you need or the interview process is being continuously interrupted with messages to try to sell you additional services, you should consider looking at other options.

2. Refund. Are you getting the refund you think you deserve? The interview process should prompt you about issues related to credits and deductions. For example, it should ask basic questions about life experiences, such as whether you have children or whether you are a student and based on this follow up with the appropriate questions about credits and deductions that may be available to you based on your situation.

“You also want to make sure it offers a maximum refund guarantee,” said Lundberg. “If the company doesn’t stand behind its program, move on.”

3. Support. Are you getting answers to your questions and the help you need? If it takes longer to find help than it would take to answer your questions, shop around. Consider, too, the type of service you want, such as phone, e-mail, etc. Also, be cautious of per-question or per-session fees for tax help, as costs can quickly escalate.

“If you have a tax question, there’s a good chance you have more than one. You’ll want a solution that offers unlimited tax questions for a low, flat fee. It’s reassuring to know that you can follow up at no additional cost to get those questions answered,” said Lundberg.

4. Accuracy. Have you received a notice about any inaccurate calculations from the IRS that were not your fault, or worse, been charged penalties? Tax software should provide an accuracy guarantee that clearly shows it will reimburse you for penalties and interest charges resulting if there is a calculation error.

5. Cost. Are you paying too much for tax preparation? The cost of tax software programs varies widely. It’s important to understand the full cost. This includes cost of preparing and filing both your federal and state tax return, as well as any additional services you may think you need.

“Not only can costs vary widely, but they also can change during the season,” said Lundberg. “So you want to make sure that the program you’re using guarantees that the rate won’t change from the time you start your tax return until the time you finish and file -- even if that’s weeks apart.”

Free Tax Preparation Software

Throughout this tax season, taxpayers who switch from TurboTax®, TaxACT® or H&R Block® online can use CompleteTax’s Premium federal tax product for free. People who were unemployed in 2010 also can use CompleteTax Premium for free. Additionally, any taxpayers who end up owing the IRS on their 2010 income tax return can use CompleteTax for free to prepare their 2010 federal tax return. CompleteTax Basic also offers free tax preparation software for taxpayers using the most commonly used tax forms and schedules.

About CompleteTax

CompleteTax is the fast, easy and accurate online tax preparation software solution for taxpayers who want the confidence that their taxes are done right and that they’re getting the biggest refund. CompleteTax walks through every step necessary to prepare and file taxes online, including filling out all the right forms. With CompleteTax, taxpayers can either file taxes online (e-file) or print and mail their return. Learn more at CompleteTax.com and connect with us on facebook.com/completetax, twitter.com/completetax and youtube.com/completetax.

CompleteTax online tax preparation and e-filing software for consumers is developed by CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business. CCH (CCHGroup.com) is the leading global provider of tax, accounting and audit information, software and services. Wolters Kluwer is a leading global information services and publishing company (http://www.wolterskluwer.com).

CONTACT:
Mary Jung, 773-429-0940
Leslie Bonacum, 847-267-7153

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