Advance Tax Return – A Mystery?

Advance Tax Return – Free to Use

A quick check with the search engines show that a site called Advance Tax Return is one of the most searched-for tax preparation software sites on the Internet.  Because of that, we’d like to review it for you and explain exactly how Advance Tax Return can help you file your taxes.  We’ll do that, but unfortunately, there’s not a lot of information available at the Advance Tax Return site.  Part of that may have to do with the fact that we’re currently in between tax seasons, but even so, the Advance Tax Return Website seems to be a bit sparse.

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Advance Tax Return Overview

Advance Tax ReturnThe Advance Tax Return site seems simple and uncluttered, with just a couple of basic links to get started.  According to the Advance Tax Return site, you can fill out your tax forms online and file them for free if you’re filing by mail, which few consumers do anymore.  If you wish to file electronically, the price (for 2014) is $9.95.  In addition, Advance Tax Return offers the ability to file state returns by either mail or electronic filing.  For 2014, the cost of doing so was $19.95.

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In addition, Advance Tax Return guarantees that their tax calculations will be accurate, or they will pay your interest and penalties.  This is stated prominently at the top of the home page, and that’s certainly reassuring, as other sites often neglect to mention this (or even offer it.)  That’s a plus in Advance Tax Return’s column.

Advance Tax Return Pros and Cons

Advance Tax Return Pros

We can’t really tell you much about the Advance Tax Return software, as their Website doesn’t offer any kind of overview of how it works.  We don’t know if there are multiple versions of the Advance Tax Return software, though most tax preparation firms do offer multiple versions, as different taxpayers have different needs.  Some people just need to file basic W2 information, for example, while others may have Earned Income Credit, charitable deductions, real estate income, investment income, medical expenses, self-employment expenses and more.  Most companies break this down into different versions of the software.  We don’t know if Advance Tax Return does this or not.

The Advance Tax Return does list the complete set of Federal tax forms they provide:

1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
1040-A, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
1040-EZ, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return

Sch-A, Itemized Deductions
Sch-B, Interest and Ordinary Dividends
Sch-C/C-EZ, Profit or Loss From Business
Sch D, Capital Gains / Losses
Sch E, Supplemental Income and Loss (From rental real estate, royalties, partnerships, S corporations,
estates, trusts, REMICs, etc.)
Sch EIC, Earned Income Credit
Sch R, Credit for the Elderly / Disabled
Sch SE, Self-employment Tax
Sch 2, Child and Dependent Care
Sch 3, Credit for the Elderly / Disabled

Form 2106/EZ, Unreimbursed Employee Bus Expenses
Form 2441, Child and Dependent Care Expenses
Form 3903, Moving Expenses
Form 4137,Social Security and Medicare Tax on Unreported Tip Income
Form 4684, Casualties and Thefts
Form 5329, Additional Taxes on Qualified Plans (Including IRAs) and Other Tax-Favored Accounts
Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits
Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contribution
Form 8812, Additional Child Tax Credit
Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home
Form 8862, Information To Claim Earned Income Credit After Disallowance
Form 8863, Education Credits (Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits)
Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions
Form 8888, Direct Deposit of Refund to more than 1 account
Form 8889, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
Form 8917, Tuition and Fees Deductions
Form 5405, First Time Home Buyer Credit
Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness

Advance Tax Return Cons

We’re also not sure if everyone qualifies to file for free at Advance Tax Return or not.  Most tax preparation companies have limitations regarding who can file for free and who cannot.  This is not mentioned on their site at the present time.

Advance Tax Return does offer state returns, but at the moment, they only list 28 states on their site, so residents of some states that have state income taxes but are not listed, such as Utah, may have to look elsewhere for their tax preparation needs.

What we’ve found is that most tax preparation software works just fine for most people, and if you can use Advance Tax Return for free for your Federal return and for $19.95 for your state return, you’ll be getting your taxes done for a modest price, and lower than that of many of their competitors.

Consumers need to realize, however, that there’s more to taxes than just filling out forms and that even the best tax software can’t help you if you haven’t done your homework.  These software programs can help you with tax preparation, but what most people need and don’t actually have is a tax preparation strategy.  What’s that about?

It’s simple – the U.S. tax code is long and complex.  Most taxpayers don’t need to be familiar with most of it, but it turns out that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways that the average taxpayer could be saving money, and a lot of money, on their taxes.  The tax code allows lots of tax deductions, and these deductions, or the lack of them, are what determine how much tax you pay.  The more deductions you can legally claim, the less in taxes you have to pay come April.  What most taxpayers fail to realize is that they are paying too much in taxes because they’re failing to take advantage of deductions that are available to them that most tax preparation software doesn’t even know about.

These aren’t really secrets; they’re right there in the tax code.  The problem is that it’s tens of thousands of pages of legalese and most people can’t be bothered to read it.  Who has the time?  If you had access to resources that could tell you, in plain English, how you could be saving money, then you could put it to use and software such as Advance Tax Return could help you.  You won’t find this information in a book; books become outdated as soon as the ink is dry.  What you’re looking for is a resource that will show you how you can save money, a lot of money, this year and next and for years after that, using legal methods that you just don’t know about.  This resource will keep you updated on changes that affect you and will save you money.

Advance Tax Return is a useful tool, but it’s not enough.

Want to know more?  Click here to see how to save the most money on your taxes.

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