Tax Day Deals Might Get You Free Meals

On April 18th, restaurants will be offering tax day deals, discounts and freebies in an effort to get their share of the more than $330 billion in tax refunds that are being issued to taxpayers by the IRS. Following is a summary of some of the deals to be found across the U.S.

In honor of the form taxpayers complete, you can get a half-chicken meal for $10.40 rather than the regular $11.77 at Boston Market. Visit the website for Outback Steakhouse, and print out a 15% off coupon which can be redeemed on April 18th. Or, get the coupon on Outback’s mobile app.

At Miami’s Trump National Doral resort or the BLT Prime in Charlotte, New York, Waikiki, White Plains, or Washington, D.C., you can get drinks for half price on April 18th.

At Schlotzky’s, enjoy a free small Original sandwich with the purchase of a 32 oz. drink and a bag of chips. Also, you can get prizes by uploading a pic of your sandwich to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #TaxDayBites.

For tax day deals featuring discounted burgers, some McDonald’s locations in Dayton and Cincinnati are offering a buy a Big Mac or Quarter Pounder at regular price and get another for just 18 cents. In Toledo, the offer applies to Quarter Pounders. Sonic Drive-in will offer a single-patty cheeseburger at half price. And, at participating Hard Rock Cafe‘s, those 18 and over can karaoke outside the restaurant and get a free Legendary Burger, which is regularly priced at $17.95.

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How To Choose A Great Online Tax Preparer

When people look for online tax preparers, they need to consider various factors. Choosing the right tax software option is vital to maximizing a tax refund after all. Therefore, individuals must focus and search for their best tax preparation solution. Each person is going to require something slightly different from their online tax prep service.

Tax Act

Safety Concerns

TurboTax 2013 from last year provided ample safety measures. Unfortunately, not all preparation services take safety seriously enough. The last thing a person wants to do is lose their personal information. Others have become victims of identity theft and lost their returns. The best tax prep options implement strict safety protocols today.

Tax refund theft continues to grow at an alarming pace. More taxpayers find themselves victims each tax filing year. While tax prep companies try to combat this fraud, cases will slip through the cracks. By choosing the safest option, taxpayers can minimize their risk of becoming a victim.

Convenience

These days, people tend to prize convenience and efficiency over other factors. It’s important to check out a tax service’s extra features. Turbo Tax 2013 was prized for its variety of useful features. Typically, such features aren’t core to the tax filing experience. They do, however, provide certain taxpayers with extra tools that can be used for various purposes.

In the end, consumers must consider price and a handful of other factors, too. TurboTax is often considered the best tax preparation software available today. Anecdotal and usage figures seem to support the validity of this idea. Still, each taxpayer needs to find the tax preparation service that’s right for themselves.

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Obamacare’s Impact On 2014 Taxes

Researchers have unveiled an ignorance on the part of the American public: a full 48 percent of people in the United States do not know that they must report their health insurance status on their 2014 federal income tax returns.

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The tax-filing season is soon on its way, and most Americans 18 and over do not realize that health care and income taxes are connected. This information was uncovered by an online Intuit TurboTax Health Survey which was conducted by the well-known Harris Poll group.

According to the Affordable Care Act, otherwise dubbed “Obamacare,” all Americans have to show that they have qualifying health insurance coverage. Proof has to be presented when they file their 2014 income tax returns. If they do not, they can face a penalty.

The study also shows that many Americans who do not have health insurance–a full 62 percent of them–know that they will incur a penalty if they do not have health insurance. However, 87 percent of people do not know that the time to avoid a tax penalty for the year 2014 has already come and gone. Insurance purchased during the current open enrollment time which goes through February 15th will be applied to income tax returns which are filed in 2016.

Sacha Adam, Affordable Care Act product leader for TurboTax software, says that many people in the United States do not understand there is a correlation between income taxes and health care insurance.

The Intuit survey also showed that 9 of 10 Americans have insurance, but those living in the South are less likely to have policies. Also, almost half of Americans do not know that premium tax credits are available to make health insurance more affordable for low to moderate income families. In addition, three-quarters of Americans who got health insurance through the government marketplace will renew it next year.

For more information on this important issue, go to TurboTaxHealth.com.

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H&R Block Backs Voluntary Tax Certification Program

H&R Block Inc. has taken the forefront to elevate industry standards in tax preparation by supporting a new voluntary certification program initiated by the Internal Revenue Service.

Tax preparers who voluntarily enroll in continuing education courses covering basic tax filings, tax updates, ethic of tax preparation and other related issues will now receive a record of completion noting their efforts. The purpose of the IRS program is to help taxpayers find qualified individuals to prepare tax returns and to help them avoid unethical practices. A study indicating that 42 million Americans have used a tax preparer with no credentials and who operates under no state regulations or minimum standards is the impetus for this program. That figure represents about 54 percent of all returns prepared by someone other than the tax filer.

In a letter supporting the program, H&R Block CEO Bill Cobb encourage the United States government to continue promoting voluntary certification actions, indicating that his company believes the U.S Congress should set standards for professional tax preparers. Until Congress passes such legislation, however, Cobb believes a voluntary certification program is essential to protect the concerns of consumers. Such a program should also include components of the Registered Tax Return Preparer Program that the IRS previously implemented, including registration, competency measures, screenings and continuing education.

Cobb has previously commented that on an appeals court ruling that the IRS cannot regulate tax preparer, indicting that the ruling hurt honest taxpayers who are entitled to basic protections.

Kansas City-based H&R Block is one of few companies that requires minimum standards from its staff. All company tax preparers must have at least 75 hours of tax law and tax return courses in the first year of employment with 15 hours of continuing education for each subsequent year. Also required is 35 hours of system, policies and procedural training.

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