>> April 15th is right around the corner. I'm Brian Tong with CNET.com and on this edition of Insider Secrets, I've got a few tips that can save you time and money this tax season.
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Don't pay an accountant. Do it yourself with some tax software. CNET recommends Intuit's TurboTax or H&R Block's TaxCut. Both will file your taxes online, but there are a few differences. TurboTax makes it easier to import your tax information, and there's a lot more guidance and tools to assist you. If you type in your employer's ID number, in many cases, your wage information and other income will automatically load, so you don't have to keep typing it over and over. With TaxCut, you'll have to enter in more information on your own, but if you need a person to help you, you'll get one free phone session with a live agent, and it's $20.00 for every new topic after that. TurboTax, on the other hand, charges $30.00 for the first 20 minutes, and $20.00 for each additional 20 minutes. While both TurboTax and TaxCut are available online, CNET recommends you purchase the box software because all your tax information will be at your fingertips on your home computer instead of stored online. Both programs are PC and Mac compatible, and premium versions will cost you about $50.00. Now, that's a quick breakdown of tax software. Now, let's get to the gadgets. So over here, we have a sleek mobile document scanner from Neat Receipts, and it's around $200.00. And it allows you to scan your receipts, business cards, and documents, and then it files them into a software program. It's really a great way to keep track of your business and personal expenses. Okay, now that you've got a lot of sensitive information on your computer, make sure you back it up. Over here, I have the Lexar JumpDrive Secure II Plus, and it's a USB flash drive with built in software that encrypts your data with password protection so it makes it rock-solid secure. This guy here has 16 gigs of storage, and it's around $70.00. Now, another back up method is to save your files on an external hard drive. This is the LaCie Rugged All-Terrain Portable Hard Drive. You can see it's kind of stylish with these grooves. It has 250 gigs of storage, and it sells for about $100.00 online. No one really realizes how important backing up data is until your computer crashes, and you guys lose everything. So make sure you back up. It's like flossing. You just got to do it. Now, once you've got everything backed up, get rid of the paper trail. This over here is the Fellows Powershred DS-1. It crosscut shreds up to 11 sheets at one time, and a single sheet in three seconds. And you can find it online for under $100.00. I'm Brian Tong with CNET.com. And we hope these tax time tips will help you out this season and beyond.
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