When Albert Einstein had to fill out his tax forms he was quoted as saying “This is too difficult for a mathematician, it takes a philosopher.” If you’re like most Americans, you’ll feel the same way as Tax day approaches. This year NERDS wants to help you stay in the black, with great tax prep resources and money management tools.
Prepare your own Taxes: If you’re filing a simple return, you can save a bundle using online tax preparation programs. NERDS recommends using an online program instead of purchasing software – they are automatically updated and don’t require installing anything on your computer. Our favorite, www.taxslayer.com, walks you through your return with easy step-by-step questions. It’s only $9.95 to e-file a simple or complex Federal return and $4.95 for each state you choose to e-File. Taxslayer.com will store your info securely (they’re backed by Microsoft and Verisign), making each year easier and faster to file. If you’re pretty familiar with the forms and what you’re doing, www.freetaxusa.com is the cheapest way to e-file: Federal e-filing is free, and each state return is $9.95.
Need a Pro: If you have to find a CPA or tax preparer, the Department of Consumer Affairs California Board of Accountancy website www.dca.ca.gov/cba offers a detailed guide to help you find a qualified professional. Simply click on “How to Select a CPA”. You can also check the status of the license of a preparer you’re considering by clicking the “License Lookup” tab.
Save on Taxes while Saving for Retirement: You probably already know that socking money away in the form of an IRA or other retirement fund can save you a bundle on your taxes. It’s not too late to fund your 2010 retirement account, but how do you choose which one to invest in? Motley Fool www.fool.com/retirement provides an easy to follow, lighthearted approach to making the most of your retirement years. Just click on “13 Retirement Steps” to learn about the different kinds of accounts available, what to look for when picking a fund to invest in, and how to decide asset allocation based on your age and risk comfort level. There’s also a calculator to help you see how much money you need to save, adjusted for the age you want to retire, to make sure you reach your retirement goals.
Pick a Retirement Fund: Once you’re ready to pick funds, go to www.money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bestfunds to see Money magazine’s top 70 picks for funds based on return and expense ratio. This can help you pick a brokerage firm to manage your IRA, because if you want to invest in Vanguard’s no-load market index fund, you are going to need Vanguard to hold your IRA.
Show YOU the Money: NERDS knows finding the money to put aside for retirement can be tough. Set up an automatic transfer from your bank account so that you pay yourself first. There are even credit cards that will fund your retirement account while you pay for your everyday purchases. Some of the options are detailed at: http://blog.creditkarma.com/ or go to www.consumerreports.org and check out their article, “Plastic that Pays Off.”
If you have questions about these resources connect FREE with a NERD on our LIVE Chat @ www.callnerds.com or visit our blog www.callnerds.com/blog.
The company has locations in Oregon, California, Washington, & Arizona offering on-site service, as well as, online and phone support to areas without a physical store location.
Nerds On Call offices are open from 7a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. However, technicians are available to provide services 24/7.
About Nerds On Call: Established in a spare room in Redding, Calif., in March 2004, Nerds On Call offers on-site computer and laptop repair services to consumers and businesses. Nerds On Call provides trouble-shooting for PCs and Macs, home and office networks, printers, iPods® and MP3 players, handheld devices and cell phones, home theaters and game systems, and virtually every other form of digital entertainment. In 2009, 2010, & 2011 the company was named to Inc. magazine’s list of 5000 fastest growing private companies. With 7 locations across California and Oregon, Nerds On Call serves more than 40,000 satisfied customers per year. For more information, visit callnerds.com or call 1-800-919-NERD.