Web winners: Tax help

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Only death and taxes are for certain, but only taxes
will hit you every year. Here are sites to keep them from being the
death of you.

WALLET POP

AOL Inc.’s Wallet Pop financial site has this tax section with quick links to IRS
forms and state tax forms. Click on “Tax Advice” for an area where you
can read how to brace yourself for a tax audit or read 10 ways to avoid
an audit in the first place. Don’t be too rich, and don’t be too poor,
are among the tips. If you file a paper return, the writer suggests
learning to type ? on the theory that hand-lettered returns may be more
easily flagged by the IRS.

www.walletpop.com/taxes

THE IRS

While we’ve found the Internal Revenue Service
site a bit difficult to search, it has improved every year and is the
definitive place for locating regulations and the latest versions of
federal tax forms. There is a helpful list of the ways to file an
electronic form ? you can do it via a software service such as TurboTax
or H&R Block for free if your adjusted gross income is $57,000 or less in 2009. Or, you can use “Free File Fillable Forms” without an income limit.

www.irs.gov

TAX SOFTWARE

This site at About.com compares the two top-selling tax-software packages, TurboTax and H&R Block at Home. The H&R Block
product used to be called TaxCut. Related links describe the
differences between online and desktop tax software and give advice on
buying tax software. For example, is your return simple enough that you
need only the “basic” program? Or, do you qualify for free software
(see above item)?

http://go.philly.com/taxsoftware

CHOOSING PREPARERS

Choosing a human to prepare your taxes is another
option, of course, and several sites offer advice for picking the right
one. The IRS lists tips, such as finding out what the fee
is going to be up front and never sign a blank return. Other pointers
tell how to check a preparer’s qualifications and background.

http://go.philly.com/preparer1

The eHow.com site reminds you to be sure you really need a preparer. Software may be the best bet for simple returns.

http://go.philly.com/preparer2

Source: McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.