Oh, the People Youll Chat With This Tax Season – Forbes

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Live chats, mobile apps and free tax prep at Wal-Mart Stores are in the mix this tax season, which kicks off Jan. 17, 2012, the first day the IRS will accept your tax forms.

You’ve probably seen the H&R Block “Ribbon Cutting” ad by now, promoting its new Block Live service. “It basically turns your home into and H&R Block office,” the ad says. “If you have an Internet connection, you can talk one-on-one with a tax professional and they’ll do your taxes for you.”

For more details, see http://www.hrblock.com/block-live/.

Intuit Inc., the maker of TurboTax software, is offering free access to its Ask a Tax Expert, either by phone or live chat.

In its blog, www.blog.turbotax.intuit.com, TurboTax describes the experts as “U.S. based IRS-Enrolled Agents, CPAs, or tax attorneys with extensive knowledge in tax law and tax return preparation.” The feature is available daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific Time.

Jackson Hewitt offers free unlimited live chat with all of its packages, including the free basic package for simple returns. For details, seewww.jacksonhewittonline.com.

Wal-Mart is offering free tax prep at its stores, leading up to the biggest tax-filing week of the year, January 16 – 22. Wal-Mart is partnering with Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block to double its in-store tax kiosks, the company said.

Jackson Hewitt will offer free federal Form 1040EZ filing at its Wal-Mart kiosks throughout the tax season and H&R Block will offer a free federal Form 1040EZ until February 29.

H&R Block will have 250 kiosks in Wal-Mart stores, while Jackson Hewitt is adding approximately 800 kiosks bringing their Wal-Mart footprint to 2,800, the company said in its news release. For more information on its tax services, see http://www.walmart.com/cp/walmart-money-center/5433.

The big tax prep companies are also rolling out mobile apps for this tax season.

TurboTax Snap Tax is designed for you if you have a simple return (1040EZ), lets you snap a photo of your W-2, answer a few simple questions, review for accuracy and e-file from an iPhone or Android in minutes,” the company says.  “If you want more guidance, it added, you can choose to prepare and e-file your taxes with TurboTax for the iPad, which combines the ease and accuracy of TurboTax with the convenience and portability of the iPad.”

H&R Block features mobile apps for iPhone and iPad and for Android. “Tax season can be filled with questions,” it says, “we can help.”

Jackson Hewitt announced its new mobile app for iPhone/iPad and Android on Jan. 10. “Consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile phones to complete everyday tasks and as a valuable information source. With the launch of Jackson Hewitt Mobile, consumers will have ready access to valuable tax tools and resources on the go,” said its director, interactive and social media, David Koroghlian.

via Oh, the People Youll Chat With This Tax Season – Forbes.