Tag: Taxes

Top 5 Tax Programs for Teachers

The 5 Best Tax Software Programs for Teachers in 2019

One question we get every year around tax time is: what is the best  tax software for teachers?  With this article we try to cover 5 of our top recommended options for educators’ unique tax needs.

These online tax software options range in price and functionality but should have you covered and save you some money too.  Even the priciest options should be cheaper than hiring a professional to prepare your return.  In fact, some of them are truly free, at least for educators with simple returns!

Read on for our review of what we believe are currently the 5 best tax software programs for teachers in 2019.

[Please note that we might share a small portion of the sales from the links on this page. We only share products that we truly love and recommend. Thank you for your kind support of The Moneywise Teacher! Now on to our list of awesome tax software for teachers.]

Our Top 5 Recommended Programs for Educators:

1) TurboTax

2) H&R Block

3) Tax Slayer

4) Liberty Tax

5) FreeTaxUsa


 

1) TurboTax for Teachers


TurboTax - Best Tax Software for Teachers

Possibly the biggest name in Tax software, most educators cannot go wrong by choosing TurboTax. It is currently our #1 recommended tax software for teachers.

This year’s version will search more than 400 tax credits and deductions (including the Educator Expense Deduction) to see which you qualify for.

TurboTax guarantees teachers their maximum refund and 100% accuracy.  Learn more about the TurboTax teacher discount and see if you qualify for the free version of TurboTax here.


 

2) H&R Block for Teachers


H&R Block is #2 on our list of best tax software for teachers and also has our highest recommendation.

Benefits of using H&R Block include no hidden fees and unlimited help via chat.

One feature that sets H&R Block apart is the ability to get your all or part of your refund as an Amazon gift card.  What’s more, if choosing this option, you’ll get an additional 5% added to your refund!

Like TurboTax, H&R Block also offers a free version for filers with simple returns.  If you have  more complicated taxes, definitely take advantage of your 25% H&R Block teacher discount here.


 

3) TaxSlayer for Teachers

TaxSlayer is a great choice for educators who want a simple data entry option.  This program’s “quick file” option is a blessing for those who want a simplified filing process.  This program has the distinction of being the highest rated tax software for ease of use.

As with the other recommended tax filing software recommendations for teachers, TaxSlayer has a free option.  The paid options are very reasonable as well.


 

4) Liberty Tax for Teachers


Liberty Tax for Teachers

Liberty Tax is a great option for educators who are savvy and experienced with filing their own taxes. The program allows you to choose what aspects of your return you want to work on and when. It even offers up helpful recommendations along the way, warning you if you enter information that might trigger an audit. Audit protection is even included in the price!

Liberty Tax is not as user-friendly as our top 3 options, but is very affordable and will definitely get the job done for you.

 


 

5) FreeTaxUSA for Teachers

Last but not least on our list of best tax software for teachers is FreeTaxUSA.  FreeTaxUSA is unique in that Federal Tax Filing is 100% free for both simple and complicated returns. Furthermore, state returns only cost $12.95!

One useful feature is that if you filed with TurboTax or H&R Block last year, you can conveniently upload your return from last year.

All in all, this no frills option is perfect for educators who like to save money and who are OK with less bells and whistles.


 

We hope you found this list of our top tax software programs for teachers helpful. We truly believe any of these 5 options will be great for you.  Please let us know what you think of our list in the comments below. If you have a personal favorite tax program for teachers we have missed, please let us know that in the comments as well!

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8 Tax Savings Tips for Teachers

8 Tax Saving Tips for Educators

With tax season upon us, you may be crunching numbers, collecting tax documents, and wondering about a possible refund.

There are a few ways for you as a teacher to potentially receive even more of a tax refund! Learn how with these 8 Tax Saving Tips for Educators.

1) Educator Expense Deduction

Educators who teach kindergarten through twelfth grade and work at least 900 hours a year at a school providing elementary or secondary education can use the $250 deduction for unreimbursed expenses. Married educators can deduct $500 for these expenses, using $250 individually.

Who exactly can use the deduction? Any of the following as long as they meet the school and 900-hour requirement.

  • Teachers
  • Counselors
  • Instructor
  • Principal
  • Aide

Expenses include books, supplies, and computer equipment used in the classroom. Some restrictions apply to the deduction and decrease the amount an educator may take. An example is taking tax-free withdrawals from Coverdell education savings accounts.

2) Income Outside of School

Anytime you make income outside of your W2, you have to report the income yourself. This “self-employed” income is subject to taxation and can incur a penalty if you’re not withholding enough or paying it throughout the year.

If you have a side hustle or even tutoring in the summer where the check is made out personally to you, you need to be either withholding more tax on your teacher’s salary to cover the tax for your side project or you can set up quarterly payments.

Working with your tax professional can help you set up the correct amount with either strategy.

3) Continuing Education


If you take courses that you cover the costs for personally, you can deduct up to $2000 a year. This amount may differ in higher income brackets. While this is not yet a permanent deduction, the Compromise Tax Bill was renewed for 2015 and 2016.

This deduction is an above-the-line credit meaning it decreases your overall adjusted overall income that is taxable. This helps about other deductions dependent on your AGI as an added bonus.

Pursuing continuing education? Be sure to check out our article with 6 Top Continuing Education Scholarships for Teachers.

4) Charitable Donations

Throughout the year, you may be asked for many donations as a teacher well-known in the community. Be sure to keep record of these as they do add up. This is an itemized deduction on your tax return. If you have other deductions like mortgage interest and other itemized items, this category is a good one to keep up with.

Also, if you buy anything that you donate to your school, these can become a charitable donation as well.

5) Working Parents Deduction

While you’re educating the young minds of the future, someone may be educating or watching over your even younger mind of the future.

Whether using a babysitter, nursery, day care, or preschool for childcare, working parents can get a certain amount depending on income and age of the child. Keeping receipt of these expenses can help get you a larger refund.

6) Student Loan Interest Deduction

If you have lingering debt and interest payments, you can deduct up to $2500 for tax purposes. The great thing about this credit is it comes off of your taxable income. This won’t be affected by whether you itemize deductions or not.

Single filings under $80,000 for their adjusted gross income qualify for this deduction while married filing jointly have an AGI limit of $160,000.

It covers interest payments from loans that helped pay for tuition, books, room and board, and other necessary expenses for continuing education. There could be some adjustments if you have employer assistance or Coverdell withdrawals.
Tax Savings Tips for Educators

7) Travel Expenses

If you travel to conferences, events, and school-sanctioned conventions, you can keep a log of your mileage and get a tax deduction. Also, if you have an overnight stay, lodging and meals can become a factor for tax savings as well.

Any educators required to travel between different school buildings during their work day can also log the miles to deduct as well. Checking up on the yearly mileage rate can help you calculate the tax break.

8) Medical Expenses

If you itemize deductions and have  medical expenses that you paid out of pocket (premiums, fees to offices, medical transportation, etc.) that exceed 10% of your AGI, you can deduct these expenses.

Only the expenses that exceed this amount can be included in your itemizations but can help out on your refund.

Finding That Tax Break


With these tax saving tips for educators, you can find a few ways to help bring back more of your money come April 15th. Working with your tax planner can help you make 2015 a great year and even start creating your best tax strategy for 2016.

We are happy to share that a couple of companies that offer educators free tax software. The First is Turbo Tax, which makes a promise of “Max refund, guaranteed.” File your Federal & State Taxes for $0. An alternative to TurboTax educators might consider is OnePriceTaxes.com, which offers “Easy, Accurate & Fast Online Tax Filing”.

This article contains information for general guidance only. Please consult with professional accountants, tax planners, and financial advisors on specific financial situations.

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