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What Tax Preparation Software is Right for Homeowners? Take Our Test!

What Tax Preparation Software is Right for Homeowners? Take Our Test!

A home is most people’s biggest financial investment. Own Up helps people find a lower rate on their mortgage by using technology to simplify the home financing process. Clients appreciate the money we save them, but that’s not the real reason they work with us. They choose us to be their co-pilot, and their advisor on their path to becoming homeowners, because we listen to their concerns and answer their questions.

If only filing taxes were this simple. A survey by the United Way found that 74 percent of millennials find tax season stressful. Even worse, the survey found that over a third of respondents paid to have their taxes done when they could have used a free online service since their returns were simple. Just being a homeowner does not mean you need to pay big bucks to get help filing your taxes.

Own Up only does mortgages, not taxes, but we are a financially savvy group and work with many millennials buying their first home. Come tax season, that home, or savings for a future one, is top of mind as people look to file their taxes.

The new tax law that took effect this year means that for many people, the standard deduction (about $12,000 for a single person, $24,000 for a married couple and $18,000 for head of household) is often the best option. Even if you are a homeowner and have both mortgage interest and state property taxes.

This is because the property tax deduction is capped at $10,000 for people married filing jointly and for homes bought after December 15, 2017, mortgage interest is capped at $750,000 for people married filing jointly. Other homeowner related deductions, such as moving costs and home equity debt, were eliminated or severely restricted.

The details of the new tax law are complicated, but understanding how it affects your financial situation does not have to be. You need to find a tax filing service you feel comfortable with, like a trusted friend. Are you the tech savvy type doing all your communication over email, or do you need a phone call? Or maybe even a face-to-face meeting? Let our tax preparation personality test match you with the best tax services.

Step 1: How to File

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For starters, you need to decide how you will file your taxes. There are four basic options: free online service, paid online service, Tax preparer, or hiring a CPA. Technology has a come a long way these days, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone or every situation. Here are four common personality types and what services suit them best.

1. The "Employed on a budget" tax filer:

  • W2s
  • Standard deduction
  • Child tax credit
  • NO itemizing, or business or other income.
  • Answer: Free online filing

2. The "On a budget but tech wary" filer:

  • W2s
  • Standard deduction
  • Child tax credit
  • NO itemizing or business or other income.
  • Answer: Tax preparer

3. The "Savvy, frugal and independent" filer:

  • W2s or limited 1099s
  • Standard deduction or itemizing
  • Child tax credit, capital gains, other income.
  • Answer: Paid online filing

4. The "Self-Employed" filer:

  • W2s and 1099s, rental property income
  • Standard deduction or itemizing
  • Child tax credit
  • Capital gains, restricted stock, foreign income, buying into a partnership or retiring.
  • Answer: Hire a CPA. You won’t regret it.

Got your personality type? Great! Now let's figure out which service you should use.

Step 2: Who to Choose

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There was a time when everyone went to the library or the post office to get copies of Form 1040, Schedule C and Schedule A. Now tax filing is mostly done online, and like all transactions online, the options are numerous and confusing.

Own Up is not paid by any tax preparation service, but our employees and customers all have to make the same decisions when it comes to tax season. We tell our customers we help people navigate a complex situation in the smartest way possible. Here’s who we think do the same for taxes, depending on your personality.

To get started, pull all your needed documents together. If they include foreign income, self-employment income, rental income and stock option, or another complicated situation, use your network and find a CPA. If not, choose your financial personality profile below.

1. Employed on a budget: Turbo Tax Online Free Edition
Why Choose Turbo Tax:

  • It leads you through your filing step by step.
  • Online support is available for questions.
  • Tax calculators provide estimates of what you will owe/receive.
  • Tax tools help you determine what documents you need and more.

2. On a budget but tech wary: H&R BlockIf you are at all wary about filing your own taxes, but they aren’t complicated, choose H&R Block. You can start yourself, and get help if you need it. Why choose H&R Block:

  • Starting at $49, tax filers can upload their forms and H&R Block will do the rest.
  • Starting at $59, tax filers can visit an H&R Block office, of which there are many, and have their taxes done for them.
  • Filers can file online and have their filing reviewed by an expert for a fee.
  • They are transparent about the starting fees for their services.
  • Online support is available for questions.

3. Savvy, frugal and independent: Two is better than one. Turbo Tax and Tax ActIf you are filing your taxes and owe money, you’d rather owe less, right? And wouldn’t you like a bigger return? Well, then consider entering your tax information into two systems and see which says you owe less or will receive more. You don’t pay until the end, at which you choose one. It may take a little more time, but you just might make out financially.
Why to also consider Tax Act:

  • Tax Act is cheaper than Turbo Tax, so you could save a little money on the filing fee.
  • There is a chance by trying both systems you could save more money.
  • Tax Act includes a tax calculator to estimate your return.
  • The site includes useful articles on tax reform.

Step 3: Planning for the Future

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Now that your taxes are done, it is time to consider your financial future. If that includes purchasing a home or refinancing the one you own, Own Up is here to help. Our expertise is unbiased and you get a lower rate whether you choose a lender in our network or not. Customer service is our top priority. Being a homeowner is the American Dream. We want to help people attain that dream.