Carrie Smith, CB and PFB
Carrie Smith is a Certified bookkeeper (CB) specializing in small business accounting and has been doing so for over a decade. She is also a Personal Finance Blogger and has written articles for Yahoo!Finance, PerkStreet, and is on a mission to have a guest post on other blogs once a month throughout 2012. (This interview will be counted as one of those, isn’t that cool?)
Another skill is tax preparation, which she has experience in working with H&R Block for four years (how cute, she’s even wearing H&R Block green in the photo). She explains the benefits between the different versions of H&R Block tax software you see on the pallets at BestBuy and Office Depot:
- Basic: That’s what it is, basic! The least expensive box on the shelf but doesn’t have the options for reporting things like mortgage interest or business income.
- Deluxe: A French word for “extra special”. OK, seriously. This version includes a Schedule A for Itemizing (mortgage interest, real estate taxes, donations, etc) and the sale of stocks and bonds.
- Premium: The most expensive gas at the pump. It is also more than 3x as expensive as the Basic version. The benefits of this tax software is that includes the worksheets to help the self-employed and those who have rental income.
- Premium & Business: This one help when you are takin’ care of business. S-corps and LLCs, payroll and vehicle depreciation, some pretty complicated stuff that you could hire a professional for instead and save yourself some aspirin.
Can I prepare my taxes without paying someone or using software?
I asked Carrie why we should use a tax software package or a professional rather than preparing taxes by hand (the old pencil and paper way). She reminds us that it is very difficult to keep up with the tax law changes from year to year. We could miss a lot of deductions that the software walks us through. Online or stand-alone tax software packages walk you through nearly all the scenarios that could apply to an American household.
You could save money by preparing taxes yourself with software and by knowing which version to buy. Each version of H&R Block At Home comes with Audit Support and one free e-file (Federal return only). There is also the option to save more money by only purchasing the Federal software (download without State).
Bonus Video: My download experience
I purchased my copy of H&R Block At Home: Premium version and recorded the entire transaction. Click on the photo below to find shortcuts to her site and see how easy the entire transaction was. PS – Wear your tax t-shirt before starting.