TurboTax is making you hunt for its free tax filing service says

first_imgKimberly White/Getty Images Anyone making less than $66,000 a year can file their taxes for free. Oftentimes, that’s easier said than done.Intuit, which makes TurboTax, makes it difficult for people to find the free option, according to ProPublica. Instead, searches on terms such as “irs free file taxes” steer potential tax filers to for-pay versions of its service, according to the publication. Intuit, along with H&R Block, has lobbied for years to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from building its own free online tax filing system because it would compete with their products, according to ProPublica. Members of Congress pushed to prevent the IRS from offering free online filing as recently as this month, the publication reported.The IRS has agreed not to make online tax filing free as long as tax-preparation companies, who have formed an industry group called the Free File Alliance, provide free services to taxpayers making less than $66,000. Locating Intuit’s free service, however, requires a lot of work, according to ProPublica.  ProPublica went to Intuit’s TurboTax website and clicked on the “FREE Guaranteed” option but was tagged as a potential paying customer. The reason: Intuit doesn’t offer its free version from its website, ProPublica said.ProPublica discovered the free version for filers with less than $66,000 in income is called the Freedom Edition. Once the publication had that information, a Google search brought up the right result. But the Intuit site still tried to channel ProPublica back to a for-pay version, it said. Clicking on a link titled “Start for Free” on the page led to a for-pay version of TurboTax, while clicking on “See If You Qualify” led to the actual free filing option.TurboTax also offers a product called Free Edition, a no-cost version for users with simple filings. Eligibility for Free Edition isn’t based on income, but rather on filing circumstance, such as W2, standard deduction and child tax credits.TurboTax spokesman Rick Heineman said pricing for TurboTax products is listed on the company’s Products & Pricing page. “This information is made clear to customers before they begin to file,” he wrote.  TurboTax Free File Program, which is on a page whose URL reads https://turbotax.intuit.com/taxfreedom/, is the Intuit product used as part of the income-based IRS Free File. Heineman said the TurboTax Free File Program “contains no cross-marketing or selling of ancillary products or services.” Comments Tags 4center_img Share your voice Softwarelast_img read more

Libya detains scores of migrants including Bangladeshis

first_img.Libyan authorities have intercepted a boat carrying 96 migrants and detained them on shore in the port of Khoms, the country’s navy said Wednesday.”A coast guard speedboat…on Tuesday intercepted a dinghy with 96 illegal migrants on board,” the navy said.It said all those on board were men, mainly from Sudan and Bangladesh, and they were given medical treatment before being placed in a detention centre in the town some 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Tripoli.The International Organization for Migration (IOM) confirmed that 96 migrants had been “returned” to Libya and that its local partner offered them medical screenings.”While we follow up to provide needed assistance in the detention centre, we reiterate that Libya is not a safe port and that arbitrary detention must end,” the IOM said on Twitter.Libya — wracked by chaos since the 2011 ouster of Moamer Kadhafi — has seen a surge in violence following the launch of an assault on Tripoli by strongman Khalifa Haftar 4 April.Haftar’s forces have clashed with fighters backing the internationally recognised unity government around the capital.The violence has killed 376 people and wounded 1,822, the World Health Organisation said Wednesday, while over 40,000 are estimated to have fled the fighting.Among the most vulnerable are about 3,500 migrants and refugees held in detention centres near the combat zone who are at “risk”, UN humanitarian coordinator for Libya Maria do Valle Ribeiro said Sunday.Libya, long a major transit route for people desperate to reach Europe, has around 6,000 migrants in official detention centres, according to the IOM.The UN and rights groups have repeatedly decried the conditions in which migrants are held in Libya.last_img read more

3 Simple Ways to Make Your Web Browser Extra Awesome

first_img Whether your browser of choice is Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer, there are some bells and whistles that can make your web experience a whole lot better and may even simplify your life.Pixlr: This deadringer for Photoshop will help you in all your photo editing needs — from simple tasks like cropping and adding text, to adding masks and utilizing the clone stamp, this may eliminate the need for pricey software. If you have zero photo editing experience, head to YouTube for thousands of tutorials. (Works in all browsers and iPhone).Related: 3 Ways to Get Graphics for Your WebsiteSilencer: This extension will let you “mute” certain words from your Twitter and Facebook feeds. So if you’d like to be shielded from updates about cousin Susie’s wedding, have the newest “Mindy Project” episode ruined or just rather not see anyone’s Instagram posts, this is for you. Silencer only works on twitter.com and facebook.com, so you’ll still see “muted” topics on mobile devices. (Chrome only).Pocket: This is an oldie but a goodie. See something you want to read but just don’t have the time? Pocket works on your desktop and mobile devices and saves article you want to read later. Perfect for subway rides, waiting at the doctor’s office, to killing time in the coffee line. (Available as an extension on all major browsers and as a mobile app).Related: Cybersecurity Basics: Surf the Web Safely With These Browsers April 16, 2014 Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 2 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Register Now » Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box.last_img read more

PeriscopeLike Live Video Streaming Comes to Everyday Facebook Users

first_imgDecember 4, 2015 Enroll Now for Free 2 min read The rich and famous had it first. Now everyday people have it, too. Taking aim at Twitter’s Periscope and Meerkat, Facebook is finally opening up its live video-streaming feature to everyone.The social media giant announced the move yesterday, marking the expansion of a capability first unveiled last August as part of its public-figures initiative, Facebook Mentions. Some of the first celebs cherry-picked to live stream on the world’s largest social media network include household names like Martha Stewart, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Serena Williams.“Live lets you show the people you care about what you’re seeing in real time,” Facebook product manager Vadim Lavrusik wrote on his Facebook wall. “Whether you’re visiting a new place, cooking your favorite recipe, or just want to share some thoughts. Live lets you bring your friends and family right next to you to experience what’s happening together.”Image credit: FacebookRelated: 3 Essentials for Making a Facebook Video That Gets People to BuyInitially,  Facebook says only a “small percent” of its users in the U.S. will be able to test out the feature, simply called Live Video. For now, it’s only available via Facebook’s iOS app. An Android version of it is slated for release early next year.If you’re one of the lucky people who see the feature within your Facebook iPhone app, all you have to do is select the Live Video icon to start streaming. Don’t forget to specify who gets to watch your real-time broadcast — your friends or the public. Once the stream ends, your video will live on your timeline.Facebook’s latest foray into video highlights its ability to adapt to the fast evolving media consumption landscape. The company already racks up some 8 billion traditional video views per day. It will be interesting to see how its streaming video numbers shake out. With more than 1 billion people active on Facebook the world over, it can’t go wrong.Image credit: FacebookRelated: How Brands Are Paving the Way for Periscope Marketingcenter_img Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience.last_img read more

The Biggest Dos and Donts of Video Conferencing

first_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. January 5, 2017 3 min read Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Video conferencing has quickly become a business standard in many industries. New technology has made it easier than ever to connect with partners, clients and employees across the globe. It’s important for businesses to effectively train their employees about videoconferences as it becomes more widely used throughout the world.Here are 10 do’s and don’ts that I believe elevate the overall experience of a video conference.Related: 4 Ideas for Hosting Google+ Hangouts ‘On Air’Do: Mute your microphone whenever you’re not speaking — even if you’re alone in the room. Background noise can be an annoying distraction and stifle any meeting’s flow.Do: Be aware of your video’s settings. Check if your microphone is muted before delivering a two-minute monologue that no one will hear.Don’t: Position your camera too low, too high or hooked onto a different monitor. Weird camera angles can be very distracting — and unflattering — during video conference calls. Make sure your camera is eye level and on the monitor you plan to use for the conference.Do: Make sure your room is well lit (side lighting is the best). Few things are worse than having a professional meeting while feeling like you’re talking to someone in a dungeon. Use natural light from windows or simply turn on the overhead light in the room to brighten up the conference.Do: Wear appropriate clothing. I know it can be tempting — especially if you work from home — to wear a work shirt and athletic shorts but dress as if you’re meeting face to face. You never know if you’re going to have to get up suddenly or if your camera might fall. So wear clean, professional clothing for your video calls.Related: 3 Low-Cost Tools for Better Virtual MeetingsDo: Your wall art or decorations should be work appropriate and your surroundings clean. If your room looks like a college dorm room after a bender, clean it or find a different room. This also includes your desk! Avoid having multiple coffee mugs, dishes and trash on the surface.Do: Test your microphone before you video call, especially if it’s an important meeting. Test it by video conferencing your colleague before the meeting. Nothing is worse than trying to share something critical, and not being able to communicate clearly because your audio clarity and volume is poor.Do: If you’re in a group call without video, introduce yourself before you talk. Consider something like “Hi it’s Jim, I have a question.” While several programs will notify you as to who is talking, conference line numbers will not. Therefore, be polite and introduce yourself.Don’t: Check or read emails or peruse articles while on the video call. This also includes doing additional work beyond the call.  It’s easy for other participant’s to tell if you aren’t fully focused and present during the video call.Do: When you’re talking, look into the camera instead of looking at yourself talking on the computer screen. It will help others on the call feel like you’re 100 percent engaged and present.It’s important to remember that video conferences are essentially in-person interactions that allow businesses to communicate more effectively.Related: Video Conference Etiquette for Dummies Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.last_img read more