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CompleteTax Offers Five Tips to Save Time and Money on Taxes

(RIVERWOODS, ILL., February 3, 2010) – Tax season may not be avoidable, but taxpayers can make it less of a drain on their time and wallets if they follow a few basic tips, according to CompleteTax®, an online tax preparation and e-filing service for the do-it-yourself taxpayer.

“Many people spend too much time doing their taxes and despite their efforts still miss tax breaks,” said Gary Lundberg, product management director for CompleteTax. “The good news is, there are a few easy things people can do that will help them save time and money doing their taxes, as well as make sure they get the biggest refund they‘re due.”

According to Lundberg these include:

1. Make sure you are prepared.

Having a few key items available when you start your taxes will save a lot of time. These include:

  • Your tax return from 2008;
  • Social Security numbers for you, your spouse and children;
  • All W-2s (wage and tax withheld form for 2009 supplied by your employer), 1099s (statements on investment income provided by your financial services institutions) and mortgage interest statements and other statements related to income;
  • All statements related to expenses that you will be claiming on your tax return; and
  • The routing numbers and account numbers for the accounts in which you want to directly deposit your tax refund.

2. Use online tax preparation.

More people say they plan to use online tax prep than packaged tax software as they file their 2009 tax returns, according to a recent study. One advantage of using online tax software is that the program can store many of the items you need to start your taxes, such as your prior year’s return. So, you don’t have to waste time hunting down information every year. You also don’t have to install the program; so it’s available to you from any computer, where and when you want to do your taxes.

And definitely don’t go it alone if you want to ensure accuracy. In fact, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reports that an electronically prepared and filed return has an error rate of less than 1 percent, compared to an error rate of about 20 percent for a paper prepared return.

3. Free file if you can.

Depending upon how complicated a person’s taxes are, they may be able to prepare and e-file their tax return absolutely free. For example, you may be able to use a free online tax program, such as the Free version of CompleteTax, if you file a 1040EZ or a 1040 and don’t need to itemize, and only have a few simple requirements – such as claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit.

If your tax situation is more complicated - for example, you have itemized deductions, investment income or you are a small business owner - you will want to make sure to purchase the online solution tailored to your needs. Basic online tax programs are generally available for less than $20 and even investors or small business owners who have more complicated returns can find solutions for less than $75.

4. Maximize credits and deductions.

The average tax refund for 2008 income tax returns was nearly $2,800, according to IRS data. However, many taxpayers have the sinking feeling that they are not getting the tax breaks they should. In fact, according to an independent survey conducted by CompleteTax, two-thirds of taxpayers fear they may overlook tax breaks or make mistakes that could cost them in fines or penalties.

In addition to a well-written program that will probe taxpayers about various situations or life events in order to identify potential credits and deductions, some programs will also provide tools to help further ensure accuracy. For example, offering a charitable donation calculator to help people easily determine and document the fair market value of clothes or other household items they have donated so that they can maximize their charitable contribution deduction.

5. E-file and use direct deposit.

Electronically filing and using direct deposit significantly increases how quickly taxpayers have access to their refund. Generally, e-filers can have their refund deposited directly into their accounts within a few days, compared to the weeks it takes to receive a mailed check. Some tax programs also allow customers to split their refund and deposit it into three separate accounts. For example, you could deposit part in your checking account, part into a U.S. savings bond and part directly into a tax-advantaged IRA account.

“E-filing and direct deposit don’t cost you anything, but they can mean you have your refund faster so that it can start working for you – whether that’s paying off debt, buying something you want or saving for the future,” said Lundberg.

About CompleteTax

CompleteTax, an online tax preparation and e-filing service for the do-it-yourself taxpayer, is the smart, simple solution for people who want to get their taxes done quickly, easily and accurately and maximize their tax refund. CompleteTax offers comprehensive resources for preparing and e-filing both federal and state income tax returns. CompleteTax is developed by CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business (CCHGroup.com), a leading provider of tax, accounting and audit information, software and services. Wolters Kluwer is a leading global information services and publishing company (www.wolterskluwer.com).

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