Real estate investors have some pretty serious tax benefits at their disposal. And maximizing those benefits? That's often the key to ensuring a healthy, profitable business. Unfortunately, taxes are complicated. And the more deductions, credits, and loopholes you look to take advantage of, the more complicated they get.
For these reasons, you'll typically want a little help as you file your returns. While that doesn't have to mean hiring a tax professional to do it all for you (though it can), you should at least invest in a good tax program to walk you through the process. This will ensure you file accurately and per all IRS guidelines (no one wants an audit!) and help you leverage any tax incentives to their fullest extent.
Do you want help leveraging those valuable tax deductions and reducing your tax liability this year? Here are four online tax services that can help.
H&R Block Premium
H&R Block's (NYSE: HRB) Premium filing service is a great one for investors. It has features for claiming rental income and deductions; reporting stocks, bonds, and other investments; and calculating depreciation and other property-related expenses. It also comes with unlimited, on-demand support from H&R Block tax professionals. Connect with a pro via chat or video anytime, on any device. You can even screen-share and work on your returns together.
TurboTax (part of Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU)) is virtually a household name at this point. And while the basic version may be fine for traditional income earners, if you're an investor, you'll want to upgrade to the TurboTax Premier or Self-Employed version to really cover your bases.
TurboTax Premier comes with all sorts of investment prompts, including ones for rental properties, crypto, stocks, bonds, and more. In the deluxe one, you get one-on-one assistance from self-employment specialists. There's even an audit assessment to analyze your risk.
You're seeing a pattern here, right? If you're going the online tax service/software route, you're probably going to want a higher-tier program -- largely due to the nuances (not to mention many, many tax breaks) that come with being an investor or entrepreneur.
If you're on a budget, TaxSlayer Premium can be a good option. At just $37 -- right around half TurboTax's cost -- you get built-in support via phone, email, and chat. (It's "priority" level, too, so no long waits or hold times.) There's also a maximum refund guarantee, so if you don't receive the full amount you should, TaxSlayer will actually refund your fee.
TaxACT is another budget-friendly option. TaxACT Premier is aimed at filers with investments, rental properties, and foreign bank accounts, and it starts at a mere $35. Like the others, it helps with rental income and capital gains reporting, as well as maximizing applicable deductions.
The downside is it doesn't come with the tax advisory perks many of the others do. While it does offer "free support," that support is limited to "account & technical" questions. The company does have a good Tax Tools section you can tap for tax-related questions, but for personalized guidance, you'll need to pay for "Xpert Help."
The bottom line
Tax season is fast approaching, so start planning how you'll attack those returns now. And don't forget: Hiring your own CPA is always an option, too. It's particularly smart if you're short on time; have a large, complicated portfolio; or just want to be extra sure you don't get audited. (Plus, they can help you plan for next year's taxes to minimize your liabilities.)