Last year was my first year using Turbo Tax.  Just like every other American, I wanted to make sure to get the best refund that I could (or pay the least that I would have to pay.) Previously, I’ve used those software programs that you can buy and do your own taxes, but then you have to send them in yourself. I noticed that I never got a good refund or had to pay A LOT of money, which was odd considering I was in school with a minimum wage job. I also noticed that it took forever to get my refund.

That’s when I decided to look at Turbo Tax. I have only good things to say about this program…and no, they are not paying me to say this! When it comes to taxes, I am as lost as the next person, but Turbo Tax asks you questions that are easy to answer making the process painless!

Below are a few tips and facts to consider when filing with TurboTax:

1. My first mistake was that I wasn't aware of what package I chose. When you go to their website, it will show all of the different packages you can choose. The deluxe package is the one "sticking out" and I just clicked on it immediately. However, it will charge you $29.95 for filing Federal taxes. This still isn't a bad price, but if you are like me who had one job during 2011, no kids, and single, then there is no reason that you should have to pay for the deluxe edition. The smart choice for a simple tax return would be the Free Edition that they offer.

2. Take your time and read everything CAREFULLY. The process is very simple, but make sure to take your time and fill in all the necessary boxes to prevent making mistakes.

3. If you need help while filing, Turbo Tax has a live online chat which is convenient, or you can always give them a call.

4. Turbo Tax offers an "Ask the Community" section where you can ask questions or see what others have to say. Sometimes I like to see what others have to say about their experiences.

5. What I love most is that Turbo Tax offers direct deposit, so I don't have to send any forms in. It is all done online. The turnaround for receiving my check was very fast (within a few weeks at the most).

6. This year, Turbo Tax is offering Free Audit Support which can make you feel even more confident using this service.

7. I found myself needing my tax information 8 months after I filed. Luckily, I could easily log in and print off my information, instead of having to dig through boxes to find my forms.

8. Another great benefit: Turbo Tax will send an email during December or January reminding you of your account where all your personal information is saved, so you don't have to start from the beginning–that makes life even easier.

However you choose to file, make sure to do some research and see what is best for you. For me, Turbo Tax was simple, easy, paperless, and gave me my maximum refund. Happy Filing!

This has been a guest post by Kendra from Young Harris, GA
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