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TurboTax and TaxCut Essay

This article focuses on what individuals and families must consider when making financial decisions and plans to buy long-term care insurance. As people get older they have to plan for and make decisions about how to pay for nursing home care. If insurance in general provides protection against financial disasters, then long-term care insurance protects against medical disasters that cause financial hardship. Insurance in general pays for unexpected expenses that a person normally cannot pay for.

Long-term care insurance pays for an unexpected illness and nursing home care that a family cannot cover through savings, income, and other insurance. The most important consideration in buying long-term care insurance is; how long will the policy pay benefits. Most policies are set up to pay for three to four years in a nursing home. This is based on the idea that most people only need three to four years of care. The problem is that benefits will not continue if nursing home care is required beyond the three to four year period.

There are also situations where a person will stay in a nursing home for as many as 10 years. In that case, a longer term policy with reduced benefits may be advisable. In other words, the recipient will get a smaller dollar benefit for a longer period of time. This will give families some relief in covering continuing expenses. Other options include buying a policy with up to a two year waiting period. Nursing home payments would be delayed, but extend over a longer period of time. The final option is for married couples to buy a joint policy.

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A joint long-term care policy would provide a fixed amount of money that either spouse could draw from to pay for nursing home care. This coverage would be limited by dollar amount instead of by time. This would allow either spouse to use benefits for short or long term care as long as funds are available. “And the Best Tax-preparation Program Is… ” This article discusses the best tax planning and preparation tools for various situations. Financial planning tools now include computer software and the internet.

Tax payers have more do-it-yourself options than in the past and must weigh these options against using a paid professional preparer. Tom Herman states that at minimum a taxpayer must consider their opinion of whether a paid preparer would work better, their own computer skills and knowledge of IRS rules, and how complex their return could end up being. Other situations to consider are potential life changes such as having children or getting married or divorced during the tax year.

Wealthier tax payers whose incomes come from investment, sports and entertainment industries may have to file multiple returns or have income from multiple sources. When a tax payer needs advice and help with tax planning for the future a professional preparer, such as a CPA or enrolled agent, is preferable. There are two ways to obtain tax filing programs, and two types of services that individual taxpayers can use. Taxpayers can purchase software programs in a retail store, or download them from the internet. Internet downloads or online use programs are either paid programs, or there are some free programs available.

Tom Herman points out that 70% of tax payers are eligible for the Free File service through the IRS website. Free File is available when the adjusted gross income is $54,000 or less. TaxACT and TurboTax also offer free software for very simple federal returns. Herman purchased and compared TurboTax and TaxCut software programs. TurboTax appeared to have the edge on importing and tracking important tax records and on making sense of the stimulus plan payments. Tax software is a good way to check the work of a paid preparer as well as a good

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