Tax software for filing state returns

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Topic Author
lhb
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Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:07 am

Tax software for filing state returns

Post by lhb » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:45 am

Have generally reviewed various tax software packages. Most provide free filing on Federal taxes and charge for state. However, found one that offers free filing for both.

Question then is: what is their business model that allows them to pass up $12+ for filing a state return? Do they sell your general info to a 3rd party? Other income possibilities?

Thanks

stan1
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Re: Tax software for filing state returns

Post by stan1 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:49 am

Which software package is it? That may help you get a better answer.

Sources of revenue:
- Upsell to premium
- Additional services with a higher margin
- Ads
- Selling data (read the fine print)

Then sometimes a product is a loss leader for something else.

JW-Retired
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Re: Tax software for filing state returns

Post by JW-Retired » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:55 am

If you are willing to print your state return and US mail it in, there is typically no charge. At least that's what I always do using H&R-block software. (HR-Block Deluxe)
JW
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TravelGeek
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Re: Tax software for filing state returns

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:17 am

lhb wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:45 am
Have generally reviewed various tax software packages. Most provide free filing on Federal taxes and charge for state. However, found one that offers free filing for both.
When you say free, do you mean included in the price to acquire the software? Or is the software (service, really) also free?

Sounds like your free filings offer may be freetaxusa? There are a bunch of threads about them available on this site. Seems there are several Bogleheads who have used their service in the past with good results.

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mhadden1
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Location: North Alabama

Re: Tax software for filing state returns

Post by mhadden1 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:36 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:17 am
lhb wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:45 am
Have generally reviewed various tax software packages. Most provide free filing on Federal taxes and charge for state. However, found one that offers free filing for both.
When you say free, do you mean included in the price to acquire the software? Or is the software (service, really) also free?

Sounds like your free filings offer may be freetaxusa? There are a bunch of threads about them available on this site. Seems there are several Bogleheads who have used their service in the past with good results.
I have used the online version of this one, and others, and started a thread about filing for free last year. `My income is down since retirement and my return is usually plain vanilla, which I believe enhances my chances for successful free filing. Sometimes features that are not provided free with one package are included for free with another. My state, Alabama, provides a free online tool for state filing that is sufficient for my purposes.
Oh I can't, can I? That's what they said to Thomas Edison, mighty inventor, Thomas Lindberg, mighty flyer,and Thomas Shefsky, mighty like a rose.

Topic Author
lhb
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Re: Tax software for filing state returns

Post by lhb » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:45 am

creditkarma is the one that offers free state filling. They're the one that also offers free credit scores.

Currently using freetaxusa and am satisfied with their product. However, the price isn't worth the quick state refund.

Was nice to live in a state that did provide direct e-filing instead of using freetaxusa, et al. The extra key stokes of entering data was worth it. Now live next door to Alabama and direct e-filing is not an option.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Tax software for filing state returns

Post by RickBoglehead » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:46 am

I create my returns with TurboTax, file my federal return electronically, and print and mail my state return on the 14th of April (always owe).
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stan1
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Re: Tax software for filing state returns

Post by stan1 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:53 am

lhb wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:45 am
creditkarma is the one that offers free state filling. They're the one that also offers free credit scores.
I haven't read their fine print, but I'd go with "guilty til proven innocent" of selling data on that one.

Tony-S
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Re: Tax software for filing state returns

Post by Tony-S » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:59 am

lhb wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:45 am
creditkarma is the one that offers free state filling. They're the one that also offers free credit scores.
Too many bad things associated with credit karma. I never signed up for them and I routinely get emails stating events have occurred to my credit report, only to find that nothing has occurred. It seems they are a personal information mining entity that sells your data. My advice, avoid like the plague.

mbcruiser
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Re: Tax software for filing state returns

Post by mbcruiser » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:01 pm

Check your state tax/revenue department website as some states let you e-file their returns [free] directly on their website (e.g Utah at https://incometax.utah.gov/; Wisconsin at https://www.revenue.wi.gov/Pages/WI-efile/home.aspx, etc.) assuming Federal is completed. Conditions and criteria vary, so a filer who's conversant in doing their own returns should be able to work through the respective state instructions. Some of the state e-file systems may not be able to handle complex returns, but local conditions dictate what options are available.

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HueyLD
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Re: Tax software for filing state returns

Post by HueyLD » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:14 pm

I think some states may not be set up to process mailed in tax returns efficiently.

My state may be one of them. In an effort to save on efiling state return, I mailed mine in. But it took them almost three months to process my return and I was getting nervous. I had a balance due and didn't want any late payment penalty.

So, I called the DOR and was told that they had no record of receiving my return. However, the employee also said that they had not been able to process all the mailed in returns due to a lack of staff. She suggested that I resend my tax return. But in doing so I also had to put a stop pay on the balance due check and the cost of stop pay and two mailing would have exceeded the efile charge.

So, I may just pay for the state efiling this year.

Big Dog
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Re: Tax software for filing state returns

Post by Big Dog » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:20 pm

I create my returns with TurboTax, file my federal return electronically, and print and mail my state return on the 14th of April (always owe).
Me too. A stamp for $0.96 works great for state (TurboTax deluxe.)
My state may be one of them. In an effort to save on efiling state return, I mailed mine in. But it took them almost three months to process my return and I was getting nervous. I had a balance due and didn't want any late payment penalty.
Did your check clear in April? If so, you were fine regardless of when they get around to inputting the numbers.

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HueyLD
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Re: Tax software for filing state returns

Post by HueyLD » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:20 pm

No, it was three months from mid-April.

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