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Tax Apps: Help is a touch screen away when preparing taxes

Megan Marrs is owner of Marrs Media Group, a branding and strategic marketing company and Associate Director, Social Media at University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Megan is a graduate of Purdue University (’06) and Valparaiso University M.B.A. (’11).

It’s that time of the year again- tax season. As a small business owner you might face the question, “Can I do this myself? How much will this cost?” Or better yet, “When am I going to find time to file my taxes?” While tax professionals provide expertise, there are multiple options to choose from if you want to file your taxes yourself. Take a look at three of the most popular software packages for small business owners:

TurboTax

TurboTax is an excellent solution if you are looking for a one-stop-shop option. TurboTax enables you to easily identify which expenses are tax-deductible. The software also assists with finding many tax write-offs that are often missed. There is a wide range of additional tax features available with Turbo Tax, including to track your audit risk, check errors prior to filing, along with guidance and support for asset depreciation as well as industry-specific tax deductions. Using this software is quick and easy. Simply:

• Import your previous year’s tax return to save time

• Automatically import your profit and loss statements from QuickBooks. TurboTax classifies income and expense accounts into the appropriate editable tax categories. (if you do not use QuickBooks, don’t worry, they still have you covered)

TurboTax's interface is very user-friendly, so you should not have trouble navigating your way through the different categories. However, the program includes access to experts if you have any questions. This software for small businesses is $149.99 with federal e-file included. State filing add-ins cost an additional $49.

TaxACT

TaxAct Small Business is a great option for small business owners looking for a straight-forward Q&A-based tax preparation experience. TaxACT uses interview questions mixed with a broad-range list of expenses that’s used to gather information. You can try TaxAct Small Business software for free on the Web or by download; however, filing costs vary.

Simply:

• Identify which type of business software is best for you

• Import previous year’s tax information

• Answer tax-wizard questionnaire

After following a few quick steps, TaxAct then automatically populates your data into the correct categories while taking into account all possible deductions.Pricing for this software ranges from zero to $69.98, which does not include the additional fees for state and federal filings. Pricing does include phone support, reconciliation of income, TaxTutor guidance and price lock guarantee.

H&R Block- iPad app

File your taxes from the convenience of your couch, favorite coffee shop, or office. H&R Block offers a fully- featured tax filing app. You can easily swap between your tablet and desktop to pick up where you left off with this clever design for devices. The app offers a review process that ensures there are not any issues with your filing. The main difference between using the app as compared to using software on your desktop is that you have the convenience to work on your taxes as your busy schedule allows. Simply:

• Import previous year’s tax information

• Answer step-by-step Q&A

• Sit back and wait for your maximum refund

With H&R Block’s mobile app, it’s free to file your federal return, and $9.99 for state filings. H&R Block also offers a 5% bonus back on federal filings, and free in-person audit support, along with maximum refund guarantee.

As you can see, there are many tax helpers that offer similar features and benefits, with cost as the varying factor. I encourage you to explore which option suits your business and lifestyle best, before you begin to prepare and file your taxes with ease this season.

Megan Marrs is owner of Marrs Media Group, a branding and strategic marketing company and Associate Director, Social Media at University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Megan is a graduate of Purdue University (’06) and Valparaiso University M.B.A. (’11).

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