Monday, January 30, 2012

Online Basic Writer: Free Web Services Review

If you are using the computer with no text editor installed, and you need to write a document, you still may use one of the free web services dedicated to helping users in such situations.

Big Huge Labs offers you assistance, as one of the projects developed. The free service – Writer -will take care of saving your work automatically every few minutes, when you start a new document, and when you open a different document. You do not need to sign up for the site to get this automatic document saving, and your document will be saved for later use, since the site remembers you by placing a cookie on your computer. 

However, if you work on the public computer in Internet CafĂ©, this option will not be usable. In this case, you can create free account, and access it from any computer. You can click here to choose a username and password, but that is totally optional.

There are some options you can customize as colors, fonts, or spacing in your Preferences. However, the range of the formatting options is quite limited.

All the documents, you ever worked on, are listed at the bottom of the page. You can open, review, and start working on each one of them just picking from the list. The saved copy of the document you are currently working on is listed first.

If you need to start a new document, click "New", and the document you were working earlier will be automatically saved, and the blank document will open.

Press F11 (PC/Linux) to get a full-screen writing environment. Press F11 again to return to a normal window. There are also two keyboard shortcuts you can use to make it faster:
  • Ctrl-S to save (or Alt-S or Command-S),
  • Alt-N for a new document (or Command-N).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

VITA - Free Tax Return Preparation

If your income last year was slashed by economic downturn and unemployment, you may be able to get at least free tax return preparation assistance from the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) Program.

Trained community volunteers may help with special credits, such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. In addition to free tax return preparation assistance, most sites also offer free electronic filing (e-filing). Individuals taking advantage of the e-file program will receive their refunds in half the time compared to returns filed on paper – even faster when tax refunds are deposited directly into one's bank account.

The VITA Program offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income (generally, $50,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Certified volunteers sponsored by various organizations receive training to help prepare basic tax returns in communities across the country. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations. Most locations also offer free electronic filing. 

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Form and Schedules covered by VITA

A VITA site prepares the following forms:
  • 1040EZ
  • 1040A with Schedules 1, 2, 3, and EIC
  • 1040 with Schedules A, B, C-EZ, EIC, and R
  • Form 1040V (Payment Voucher)
  • Form 1040ES (Individual Estimated Tax Payment)
  • Form 2441 (Child and Dependent Care Credit)
  • Form 8863 (Educational Credits)
  • Form 8812 (Additional Child Tax Credit)
  • WI Form 1, 1A and WI-Z
  • WI Homestead Credit (household income must be less than $24,680)

A VITA site will not prepare the following forms and schedules:
  • Schedule C (Profit or Loss From a Business)
  • Schedule D (Complicated and Advanced D's)
  • Schedule E (Rental Income)
  • Form SS-5 (Request for a Social Security Number)
  • Form 2106 (Unreimbursed Employee Business Expenses)
  • Form 3903 (Moving Expenses)
  • Form 8606 (Nondeductible IRA)
  • Form 8615 (Tax for Children Under 14 with Investment Income)

VITA sites do not prepare returns for married filing separate individuals, taxpayers with international income or military status.

Documentation to bring with you

When visiting VITA site, bring the following:

* Photo ID for Caller (and/or spouse, if filing jointly).
* If married filing jointly, both spouses must attend appointment.
* Social security cards for every member of the family (if a card is lost, the taxpayer must contact the social security administration to replace card prior to having taxes prepared). 
* Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return.
* Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers.
* Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099).
* A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available.
* A check from the taxpayer's checking account or a savings account number for direct deposit (NOTE: The taxpayer can open a bank account or cash card at the tax site for direct deposit if they do not have an existing account.)
* Interest statements from financial institutions (if applicable)
* Tuition and student loan information (if applicable)
* Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider's tax identifying number (the provider's Social Security Number or the provider's business Employer Identification Number).
* Any other income information or IRS notices received
* Copy of last years tax return

To locate the nearest VITA site, call 1-800-906-9887.Or, you can find it with online search:

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Note: Some sites are by appointment only; some are walk in only. Check with your local office before visiting.

Sources and Additional Information:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Listen your favorite songs with Android Smartphone through Google Music

You want to be able to access your music collection anywhere anytime from your Android Smartphone without storing those files on your memory card? No problem. Google has a solution for you.

Google Music is a cloud-powered music player and storage service that lets you keep your music collection online so you can save space on your Android device.

* You can add up to 20,000 songs from your personal music collection on your computer for free to your online storage location.
* You can access your entire music library instantly with the Google Music app, and save your favorites for offline playback.
* All your music purchases from Android Market automatically will appear on Google Music, while not affecting your 20,000 songs limit.
* You can share a free full play of the songs you purchased from Android Market with your friends on Google+.
* Note that the option is available in the U.S. only.

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To upload your music collection from your computer, you need to download and install the free desktop application Music Manager, allowing you to add your music to the cloud. Once you’ve added songs to Google Music, you can listen to your music anywhere that you have internet access.

From the Music Manager, you can:
  • Add music from your iTunes library, Windows Media Player library, My Music folder, or folders of your choosing to Google Music.
  • Choose to add songs automatically or completely manually
  • Adjust the bandwidth available for adding songs.
  • View the progress of songs you’re adding.

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Developers’ website:

Music Manager can be downloaded from the same page. And, on your Android Smartphone, find Google Music App, and install it. You will be able to listen your clips immediately, even when the full library is not uploaded yet.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tax Organizer for iPhone and Android

While SnapTax, we have reviewed earlier, is probably the only application, which allows to actually filing your taxes with iPhone, this smart device can help you to make more efficient other activities, related to taxes.

Today, I would like to present the tax planning software for smart phones. This software will not help you for this filing season, but you might want to consider it for the next one. The software itself is free, but using it for longer than the trial period, will be covered with some fee. So, let’s say right away, that for individuals, who as limited eligibility for the tax deductible expenses, there probably not much use for this application is. However, if you have small business or little enterprise, and you do not have accountant who will track these expenses for you, the application may help you.

Instead of saving multiple paper receipts and storing all year paperwork in thick binder, you may just make a picture of them instantly with your iPhone or Droid and send them real-time to your online account.

As time comes, you can email all your records to your tax preparation professional for filing. There are several advantages you can consider:
  • You do not forget to file your expenses, which you put aside for later processing, as you can file it from anywhere anytime.
  • You save space in your office for multiple papers to be stored for years.
  • You save time for the taxes preparation, since you do not need to decode records, sometimes barely visible and hardly remembered.
  • Your records are safe, and cannot be damaged, destroyed, or simply lost.
  • If you have audit by IRS, you have all your records, conveniently arranged by date with attached receipts.

Screenshots (iPhone)

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There are three plans, offered:

Basic Plan: (30-Day Free Trial)
  • Manage up to 3 businesses.
  • Includes FREE smart phone application. (iPhone, Android, Blackberry; under development) 
  • Free comprehensive "TAX Deduction Check List."                  
  • Free invite to TAX Time Webinars for cutting edge strategies. 
  • Free back up of picture receipts for 3 years. (active subscription required)
  • Export data in Excel or CSV formats FREE.
  • Audit Protection. 
  • FREE Real Estate Investor / Agent TAX Organizer. Track up to 5 properties. 
  • Cost: $14.95 per month or SAVE 10% when you pay for 12 months up front

Premium Plan: (30-Day Free Trial)
  • Manage up to 10 businesses.
  • Includes FREE smart phone application. (iPhone, Android, Blackberry) 
  • Free comprehensive "TAX Deduction Check List."                  
  • Free invite to TAX Time Webinars for cutting edge strategies.
  • Free back up of picture receipts for 3 years. (active subscription required)
  • Export data in Excel or CSV formats FREE.
  • FREE 30 minute phone consultation to maximize your tax deductions.
  • Audit Protection. 
  • FREE Real Estate Investor / Agent TAX Organizer. Track up to 15 properties.
  • Cost: $19.95 per month or SAVE 10% when you pay for 12 months up front

Audit Representation Plan: 
  • NO free trial
  • Audit Representation for one person / entity by the one of nations leading TAX Attorney firms.
  • FREE TAX Organizer Account to manage all deductions related to person / entity
  • Includes FREE smart phone application. (iPhone, Android, Blackberry-under development) 
  • Free comprehensive "TAX Deduction Check List."                   
  • Free invite to TAX Time Webinars for cutting edge strategies. 
  • Free back up of picture receipts for 3 years. (active subscription required)
  • Export data in Excel or CSV formats FREE.
  • Audit Protection.
  • FREE Real Estate Investor / Agent TAX Organizer. Track up to 3 properties.
  • Cost: $59.95 per month or SAVE 10% when you pay for 12 months up front


Developers’ website:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

How to File your Taxes with Smartphone?

Tax season is coming. There are still several months left before due date, April 15, but there are so many of the tax payers, who do not prepare the paperwork up to the last moment, due to the lack of time, desire, or necessary documentation. But, now, all the happy smartphone owners can do the trick even at the very last moment.

SnapTax, an app from Intuit, maker of TurboTax, allows you to snap a picture of your W-2. The information is loaded onto an electronic return; you add any other information that’s needed, and then click to file your taxes over your Apple iPhone or smartphone running Google’s Android system.

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These are the good news, but the option does not apply to everyone, as it is suitable only for those who qualify for filing 1040EZ only:
  • Don’t own a home or have kids.
  • Only have W-2, interest, or unemployment income to report.
  • Earned less than $100K ($120K if married).

The filing process is fast, easy, straightforward, and guarantees maximum returns, as claim the software developers:
  • Download the app for FREE on your smart phone.
  • Snap a photo of your W-2 to import your info.

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  • Answer a few simple questions.

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  • Review, efile securely, and you are done!

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SnapTax uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology to streamline and simplify tax preparation and shows a running tally of the refund, or taxes owed, every step of the way.

You may use SnapTax without charge up to the point you decide to send it to print or electronically file your tax return. Printing or electronically filing your return reflects your satisfaction with SnapTax, at which time you will be required to pay or register for the product, which is $19.99 as of today, which includes one federal 1040EZ and one state tax return plus e-filing.

Video Presentation:

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