Everyone knows that the IRS wants to make filing taxes as easy and pleasant for us as possible (insert eye roll here).
Okay, maybe not. It’s pretty safe to say filing taxes can be a headache, but there is a way to make filing your taxes easier and more convenient than ever before, and it’s called online tax software.
If you’re filing taxes for the first time or you’re worried about leveling up from good old-fashioned pen and paper returns sent through snail mail, we’ve got good news! Online tax software is capable of handling more tax situations than ever before, and it’s a lot more user-friendly and secure than trying to keep up with paper returns that you have to mail to Uncle Sam.
Let’s go through some of the advantages of using tax software in more detail and see if it makes sense for you and your tax situation.
Tax Software Is Convenient
Online software isn’t exactly the new kid on the tax-return block. As far back as 1991, there were no fewer than 15 options for computer-run tax preparation.1 But they were expensive, clunky and anything but user-friendly.
Fast-forward three decades and tax software has become the most convenient method of filing taxes. Since it’s available online now, you can use tax software from the comfort of your own home. And if your lovely neighbor with boundary issues comes knocking with the latest gossip while you’re in the middle of filing, you can save your filing progress, send your neighbor on their merry way, and pick back up right where you left off.
It can also save you time and help you keep your tax forms and information all in one convenient online location, which definitely beats stuffing your paperwork into a cardboard box in the back of your closet and hoping you remember where to find it next tax season.
Tax Software Is Easy to Use
Tax software provides a step-by-step process most people can easily follow, even if it’s your first time filing your taxes or if you have zero knowledge when it comes to tax preparation.
Tax software asks you questions about yourself and your tax situation before helping you fill out the correct forms and seeing which tax deductions and tax credits you may qualify for. It’ll also calculate how much you owe or how much your refund will be and give you options for how you want to pay that bill (if you owe taxes) or receive your refund.
Tax Software Can Handle More Tax Situations Than Ever Before
Online tax software can handle simple tax situations, like the following scenarios:
- You only have one or two sources of income (like a full-time job and a weekend side hustle) or a fixed income.
- You have few or no investments outside of your tax-advantaged retirement accounts.
- You haven’t taken money out of your retirement accounts before you’re eligible.
- You plan on taking the standard deduction.
- You plan on making simple itemized deductions.
- You’ve had a few life changes this year (like buying a new house, getting married, or welcoming a new baby to the family).
If your tax situation is along the same lines as these scenarios, you should definitely consider using online tax software to file your return!
If your tax situation is more complex—maybe you had more major life changes than we mentioned above or you’re just not comfortable dealing with the IRS on your own—you can always reach out to a tax pro and let them file your return.
With Tax Software, You Can File on Your Own Schedule
Let’s face it—between work, school, the kids’ latest sports and hobbies, and the precious few hours of family time we get, the last thing we want to spend our free time on is taxes.
Don’t settle for tax software with hidden fees or agendas. Use one that’s on your side—Ramsey SmartTax.
But if you have a simple tax situation, using online tax software can be a huge time-saver! Its step-by-step process takes the confusion out of all those tax forms and numbers and speeds up what could be a very time-consuming item on your to-do list. Exactly how long it’ll take you to file depends on your tax situation, but some people can finish their return using online software in just an hour or two. And you can work on it at your own pace and schedule. How’s that for convenient?
Tax Software Is Accurate
Some people love working with numbers. But for the rest of us, all those numbers, tax forms, and rules and regulations can be overwhelming. Using tax software can help take the guesswork out of filing your return because you don’t have to worry about miscalculations. Most tax software will handle the math for you and guide you through all those tax forms one by one.
It’ll also provide a final review to make sure you haven’t left anything out or missed some important information that could qualify you for any tax credits or deductions!
Tax Software Helps With Record Keeping
When it comes to tax preparation, you can never be too organized, and tax software is a great tool for keeping all your tax information and forms from year to year in one place.
Most online software will store your previous year’s information and forms so you can compare them to this year’s forms and not have to reenter all that info. And if you need to access your forms and past tax returns anytime throughout the year, you know exactly where to look. Plus, you can always email a copy of your returns to yourself and print a copy for your records.
You Can Receive a Refund Faster With Tax Software
When you file your taxes via snail mail, it’s anyone’s guess how long it’ll take for your return to get to the IRS, be accepted, and go through processing. Then if Uncle Sam owes you money, you have to wait even longer for your refund!
With online tax software, you can e-file and choose how you want to receive your refund. Plus, most tax software will include direct deposit as one of your options. You can also sign up for notifications to track your returns, payments or refunds.
But let’s press pause a minute and talk refunds. A lot of people look at tax refunds as a big yearly bonus. But if you keep getting a big, fat refund every year, that just means you’ve been loaning the government too much of your hard-earned money and Uncle Sam is simply returning money that was yours to begin with—that’s why it’s called a refund! It’s not a gift, and it’s definitely not free money for your upcoming summer vacation.
If you get a large tax refund (or if you owe the IRS a lot of money) this year, it’s time to adjust your tax withholding at work so your refund is as close to $0 as possible. After all, we want that money working for you throughout the year, especially if you’re using the Baby Steps to get out of debt!
Get Started on Your Taxes Today!
If you’re ready to file your taxes with a more convenient, accurate and secure method than pen and paper, check out Ramsey SmartTax. It’s easy to use, always up to date, and offers built-in support for any questions you may have along the way.
If you’re still unsure about using online tax software, contact a RamseyTrusted tax pro today and let them handle your tax return. They can answer any questions you have about taxes and help you file with confidence.