Thursday, March 30, 2017

Best Free Online Tax Filing Services

February 12, 2017 by  
Filed under General

FreeTaxUSA

FreeTaxUSA is an online tax preparation website that enables you to Prepare, Print & E-file your Federal taxes free. The software is updated each year by a team of tax analysts to incorporate the most recent changes in federal and state tax codes. It goes through rigorous testing, as well as an approval process with both the IRS and each state.

There are no charges for the roll-over of prior year tax data. In addition, the pricing is straightforward and has no hidden fees. With competing tax preparation tax software programs, you usually have to buy a premium version in order to handle self-employment (Schedule C), rental real estate (Schedule E), and capital gains transactions (Schedule D). But FreeTaxUSA can handle all of those on both the Free and Deluxe editions.

As with many tax preparation services, you’ll have to pay extra to e-file your state tax return. But the price of filing state returns with FreeTaxUSA is relatively low. You’ll only have to pay $12.95 to file your state returns. Here is a list of the tax situations that they don’t support, taken directly from their website:

    • Foreign employment income (Form 2555)
    • Foreign mailing address
    • Household employment taxes (Schedule H)
    • Nonresident alien returns (Form 1040NR)
    • Farm rental (Form 4835)
    • At-risk limitations (Form 6198)
    • Installment sales (Form 6252)
    • Tax for children with more than $2,000 in investment income (Form 8615)
    • Prior year minimum tax credit (Form 8801)
    • Archer MSAs (Form 8853)

EZTaxReturn

With ezTaxReturn, customers do all of their taxes online through the cloud-based system that stores taxes for up to three years. The average preparation time for a state and federal return can be completed within 30 minutes. EZTaxReturn also offers a 100% accuracy guarantee as well as audit support.

  • Federal Tax Return – This product includes three years of secure storage and three years of unlimited downloads. Customers also like that the plan comes with no-wait-on-hold phone support and an identity theft package. People can refile for rejections unlimitedly. This product costs $29.95
  • State Tax Return – This product also includes three years of secure storage and three years of unlimited downloads. Customers also like that the plan comes with no-wait-on-hold phone support and an identity theft package. People can re-file for rejections unlimitedly. This product costs $19.95
  • Federal + State Tax Return – This product costs $39.95 and has all of the same benefits as the Federal Tax Return Plan, plus the ability to file state returns as well.

This service is streamlined and simple to use for preparing simple returns. However, other services offer this same level of ease-of-use for far less money. Most even provide free 1040 e-filing, which this service does not.

E-File

The functionality of the interface is pretty solid and user-friendly. E-file asks questions to help determine which specific forms you need to fill out. E-file.com is a no nonsense, straightforward service, but for those expecting more help from the interface, other services provide a more consistent experience.

E-file.com’s pricing is fairly straightforward. It offers three plans — Free, Deluxe for $18.99 and Premium for $34.95. The Free edition supports single and joint filing without dependents. Deluxe expands to include filing with dependents as well as multiple groups of deductions and the 1040A schedule. Lastly, the Premium edition includes all deductions possible on a filed return. State returns for all packages cost an additional $19.

eSmart: Online Tax Filing From Liberty Tax

One of the most appealing aspects included in all of eSmart tax filing options — it provides support at any of the physical Liberty Tax Service locations throughout the United States and Canada. That means that unlike most online filing services, eSmart filers can get access to a tax professional in person when they have questions about their filing.

Another great feature of eSmart Tax is its product wizard. If you’re not sure which edition is right for you or which forms you need in order to file, eSmart Tax starts you off with a free and easy questionnaire about your past year’s financially related circumstances to help you determine your filing needs.

eSmart Free Edition

The eSmart Free federal edition is best for simple filing needs. In addition to filing your federal 1040EZ form for free, users have access to all of eSmart’s enhanced features listed above. State filing is an additional $29.95 fee.

eSmart Basic Edition

Families with dependents or those with simple income from stocks and investments (Schedule B) should consider filing with the eSmart Basic Edition. This edition includes all the features from the Free Edition plus itemized deductions, detailed assistance with dependent deductions and assistance for those with health savings accounts. Federal e-filing with the Basic Edition costs $14.95, and state filing is an additional $29.95 fee.

eSmart Deluxe Edition

The Deluxe eSmart Tax filing is the best choice for investors and those with home businesses. eSmart’s Deluxe Edition provides all the features of the Basic Edition but with enhanced tools for more advanced investors. This edition, tailored to sole proprietors, freelancers and independent contractors, gives specific guidance on Home Office deductions and asset depreciation. Federal e-filing with the Deluxe Edition costs $19.95, plus an additional $29.95 for state filing.

eSmart Premium Edition

The Premium eSmart Tax filing option is recommended for small business owners who have more tricky tax situations — it allows users to maximize deductions from a small business, the sale of a house, or income and deductions related to rental properties or real estate. This edition provides expert guidance and advice concerning the sale of business assets or gains, profits and loss for S corporations (Schedule D). Federal e-filing costs $34.95, and state filing is an additional $29.95.

Day Trading Buddy Relaunched

February 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured

Honestly, I dug the DayTradingBuddy domain name out of the trash from GoDaddy, The World’s Largest Domain Name Registrar, for $26 including the renewal fee. It had only a few hours left till complete deletion when I was searching. I always wanted to start a site about trading, and it was just perfect. I saw that the site had a long history and was worth salvaging, and I did. When I searched on the internet, I even found their header image, as you can see above.

Per Google Analytics, the site still has live backlinks from several different sites and I will be working to get it up and running. Please subscribe to my newsletter, leave comments below, and spread the word on social media !

Trading is an active style of participating in the financial markets, which seeks to outperform traditional buy-and-hold investing. Instead of waiting to profit from long-term uptrends in the markets, traders seek short-term price moves in order to profit during both rising and falling markets.

I have been trading for about 7 years and I found a lot of resources that can be useful for the beginner or even the advanced trader. The site will cover trading Forex and Futures mostly, but also stocks and options. In addition to day trading, other trading styles will also be covered, such as swing trading, scalping.

I will be posting trade ideas, analysis, trading strategies and helpful tips on how to make money trading and how to avoid blowing your account.

Understanding Online Futures Trading

August 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Futures Trading

Online futures trading is an option available for people who want to invest their money into commodities, such as oil, silver, soy bean oil, etc. As a rule, it is more difficult to open a futures account than it would be to open a Forex account. You get scrutinized more about your financial background and net worth when opening an account and you need to show that you have experience.

Online futures trading involves trading commodities that have a delivery date on a particular time in the future. Futures tickers differ from stocks. Each futures market has a specific ticker symbol that is followed by symbols for the contract month and the year. For example, crude oil futures has a ticker symbol – CL. The complete ticker symbol for March 2017 Crude Oil Futures could be CLH7, but this may vary from broker to broker.

There are certain advantages and disadvantages associated with futures trading. It is important that the new investor know how this type of trading works before even trying to risk a certain amount of capital.  One of these is the amount of fluctuation. E.g. 10 cent if change in crude oil price results in $100 change in your futures trading account balance, a contract being in the $3,500 range.

In futures trading you buy or sell futures contracts. A futures contract is an agreement on a future delivery of a certain amount of product, called a contract, at a certain price. The futures contract evolved when grain farmers began setting up agreements with buyers for future harvests.

A farmer may offer in the market about 8000 bushels of wheat that can be delivered on a certain month of next year. There would be buyers who may want to maintain their wheat supply for next year and would want to buy such futures contracts to make sure. Upon an agreement on the price for the future produce, the farmer and the buyer have gone into making a futures contract.

The futures contract is well suited for both parties. The farmer would know I advance just how much he would be paid for the harvest next year while the buyer would know the costs of future supply of wheat now. What the farmer and the buyer will do is make a written contract that would sometimes involve a certain amount of cash as a guarantee of the contract.

The futures contract that the two parties agreed to would not merely be stored in someplace safe. The contract may even change hands during the course of time before the actual date of delivery. Depending on the circumstances, farmers and buyers may even trade these contracts to other interested parties. There are times that the buyer of the futures contract may have a change of mind and would not want to take the future delivery of the produce. He would then find some other buyer who would be interested and offer the futures contract at a certain price. There are also times that the farmer would decide not to deliver on the said contract and would then pass on the obligation to deliver to another interested farmer. The transfer and trade of these contracts became known as futures trading.

Many people have discovered that trading the contracts became a good way to make money. Soon, there were people who began to buy and sell the futures contract without intending to take the delivery for themselves. All they wanted was to profit from the price changes that the futures contracts go through. These people are called speculators who try to profit by buying the futures contracts low and selling them high.

Commodity Futures Trading Simple Facts

August 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Futures Trading

Futures trading is different from the trading that happens on the stock market. First of all, the U.S. stock market is open 9:30 am-4 pm EST. On the futures markets you can trade from the opening of the Asian session at 6 pm EST to 5 pm the next day, when New York closes, 5 days a week.

The following table lists the largest futures exchanges in the world and the commodities that are traded at each.

Exchange Headquarter Principle Commodities
Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Chicago, USA Grains, Energy
Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Chicago, USA Livestock
New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) New York, USA Softs, Base Metals, Energy, Precious Metals
London Metal Exchange (LME) London, UK Base Metals
NYSE Euronext (Euronext) Paris, France Grains, Softs
Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) Tokyo, Japan Softs, Base Metals, Energy, Precious Metals
Tokyo Grain Exchange (TGE) Tokyo, Japan Grains, Softs

Here are some of the most popular futures markets that are being traded these days.

1. Currency trading.

This is widely known as the FOREX that stands for the foreign exchange. Some of the well-known currencies that are being traded include the Euro, the Swiss Frank, the Australian Dollar, the British Pound, the Japanese Yen and the US Dollar.

2. Agriculture.

There are many crops and produce that this department can sell. ICE (Intercontinental Exchange) is the center of global trading in soft commodities. Now known as ICE Futures U.S., the exchange offers futures and options on futures on soft commodities including coffee, cocoa, sugar, cotton and frozen concentrated orange juice. Sugar No. 11 is the benchmark contract for the global sugar market which is one of the world’s ten largest agricultural futures markets. ICE Futures Europe lists London softs markets including cocoa, coffee and white sugar.

3. Energy Futures.

This includes gas and the oil futures. The market for this one has got to do with anything that fuels and lights up people’s lives.

4. Interest Rate.

This not only includes interest rates but also bonds and other kinds of financial transactions. Examples include Treasury-bill futures, Treasury-bond futures and Eurodollar futures.

5. Metals.

The most common materials being traded for this sector include the kinds of metals like silver and gold.

Futures Margin

Participants in a futures contract are required to post margins in order to open and maintain a futures position. Margins are financial guarantees required of both buyers and sellers of futures contracts.

Before a futures position can be opened, there must be enough available balance in the futures trader’s margin account to meet the initial margin requirement. This money is held by the exchange clearinghouse as long as the futures position remains open.

The maintenance margin is the minimum amount a futures trader is required to maintain in his margin account in order to hold a futures position. The maintenance margin level is usually slightly below the initial margin.

If the balance in the futures trader’s margin account falls below the maintenance margin level, he or she will receive a margin call to top up his margin account so as to meet the initial margin requirement.

How to Invest in the Futures Market

August 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Futures Trading

Futures are a way to profit from securities’ short-term price movements and trends, both up and down, without actually owning the underlying asset. It is a type of investment where investors try to take advantage of trading futures contracts. The commodities that such futures contracts trade can include grains such as wheat, corn to other produce such as lumber, livestock, cattle, coffee and even orange juice. There are also futures contracts for precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum.

What makes futures trading quite attractive is the high level of investment leverage that it offers. Investors can invest just as little as ten percent of a futures contract’s value in order to have the opportunity to trade it. This allows investors to trade futures contracts using lesser investment capital for trading larger valued contracts.

Futures contracts usually have standardized amounts of the commodity that they involve. For example, if an investor holds a future contract for wheat, he usually holds a value worth 5,000 bushels. Trading the contract would be dealing based on the value of the 5,000 bushels of wheat.

Although futures contracts only require a fairly small investment (usually ten percent of the contract value, known as the margin), investors should still think before taking or buying a futures contract. Traders should consider if they have enough margins to cover the contract as well as if they have what it takes to trade and deal a sizable move in prices that can go against their position.

It is also important that beginner traders try to establish a system of risk and reward when trading for a particular commodity. There are many factors that may affect the position of the trader in different futures contracts since they can involve a variety of commodities. A good way to do this is to establish a stop loss feature on traded futures. This simply means that the investors establish a certain price range wherein the contracts may stop trading in order to preserve profits from the trade or to minimize the possible losses.

Each commodity contract requires a different minimum deposit, depending on the broker, and the value of your account will increase or decrease with the value of the contract. If the value of the contract goes down, you will be subject to a margin call and will be required to place more money into your account to keep the position open. Due to the huge amounts of leverage, small price movements can mean huge returns or losses, and a futures account can be wiped out or doubled in a matter of minutes.

Traders should only try to risk about three percent of their trading capital on futures contracts. The reason for this is because, one can also easily lose considerable capital in futures trading. It is wise for traders to only invest the amount that they are prepared to lose.

Forex Win-Loss Ratio: Is It Really Imporant?

August 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Trading Tools

Losing is part of trading. If someone tells you they have 100 pecent winning trades, you know that they are lying. But did you know that you can have 30 percent of your trades profitable and still put money into the bank?

When focusing on the win/loss ratio only, you are missing the very important component of your average wins vs. your average losses. If your average wins (gains) are 20 pips and your average loss is 20 pips, you must have a win/loss ratio of well over 50% to make any real money in trading. Traders should look for trades that offer a 3:1 reward to risk ratio, but 1.5:1 at the bare minimum. If you take higher quality trades, you don’t have to have a very high win/loss ratio to make actual money in trading.

Imagine you lose 7 trades, with an average of 15 pips. Your total loss is 105 pips. However if the 3 winners each average you 90 pips, you still walk away with a net of 165 pips. Not too bad!

 

Forex Fibonacci Trading System – Your Best Friend

August 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Forex, Trading Tools

You have probably heard about Fibonacci before and that it can be used in trading. I have been hearing about it myself, but I never realized until a short time ago what a magical tool it could be, if used correctly.  Now I will show you how it works.

The first set of Fibonacci ratios is used as price retracement levels in trading as possible support and resistance levels.

Price Retracement Levels
0.236, 0.382, 0.500, 0.618, 0.764, 0.86

Price Extension Levels
0, 1.27, 0.382, 0.618, 1.000, 1.27, 1.382, 1.618

In an downtrend, the general idea is to go short at a retracement to a Fibonacci support level. But how does it work? Let’s take a look at some examples.

The first one is AUD/USD daily chart. Metatrader has a great Fibonacci tool. As you can see, after AB there is a 50 percent Fibonacci retracement (C) and from there it goes straight to the 1.27 extension.

But it works on smaller time frames, too. You can scalp on 15 min or 1 hr chart. It works magically on spikes that occur after announcements.

The strategy is simple (but not necessarily easy).

1. You idenify an AB spike, then

2. You pull out your Fibonacci tool, draw the retracement levels

3. wait for the pair to retrace to 0.61, 0.78 or 0.86, these are the highest probability trades

4. Then wait for a reversal candle with stochastic in the appropriate buy or sell zone.

Here is another example, AUD/USD 15 min chart:

You can clearly see the bounce from the .618 level.

Why don’t you pull out some charts on your Metatrader and experiment a little bit. Leave your notes below!

Simple Trend Trading System

August 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Forex, Trading Tools

In this system we use the 10 and 20 period moving averages.

Step 1: Waiting for the MA to become sloped and parralel. This is a sign that the trend is strong. A sloped moving average means that the trend is strong and therefore any retracement will probably lead to a continuation in price, and a good trading signal for us to trade.

Step 2: Wait for price to touch the MA area and reverse. This could be from the area between the two moving averages or from either of the lines.
Wait for a reversal candle.

Step 3: Stop loss is placed
• 5 pips below the lowest low of last 4 candles (for long trades)
• 5 pips above the highest high of last 4 candles (for short trades)

Step 4: Exiting the Trade
The trade is closed when the moving average is no longer sloped = is flat.

Here is an example, GBP/USD, 15 minute chart the red (10MA) and blue (20MA) lines:

 

 

The ABCD Trading Pattern

August 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Trading Tools

The ABCD pattern is one of the classic chart patterns which is repeated over and over again. It starts out with an AB leg, then retraces to C to a Fibonacci level of 0.382, 0.500, 0.618, 0.764, 0.86, then it continues to a Fibonacci exension level D – mostly 1.27 or 1.618. As a rule, the deper the retracement, the shallower the D extension will be.

Why is the ABCD Pattern important? It helps identify trading opportunities in any market (forex, stocks, futures, etc.), on any timeframe (intraday, swing, position), and in any market condition (bullish, bearish, or range-bound markets).

Highest probability trade entry is at point C, deep retracement.

Each turning point (A, B, C, and D) represents a significant high or significant low on a price chart. These points define three consecutive price swings and major support or resistance levels. The trend is intact as long as point A is not violated. The moment price violates point A, the likelyhood of a trend reversal significantly increases.

Each pattern leg is typically within a range of 3-13 bars/candles on any given timeframe.

Trading the ABCD pattern

You trade the ABCD with Fibonacci trading.

 

Commodity Futures Trading Basics

August 4, 2014 by  
Filed under General

What Are Futures Contracts?

A futures contract is an obligation to buy or sell a commodity at or before a given date in the future, at a price agreed upon today. A transaction in the commodity futures market is made on the trading floor (or in the trading computers) of the exchange between brokers who are members of the exchange that particular commodity is trading on. The seller will have a broker, and buyer will have a broker.

There are speculators and hedgers that trade in the commodity markets. A hedger is not interested in making a profit off the movements in price of a commodity futures contract, but rather wants a guarantee to buy or sell at a cetain price. E.g. if crude oil is trading at $60 per barrel in the June contract, an oil drilling company could sell contracts at that price to lock in that price and it can still for $60 when the time comes, even if the price went down to $48 in the meantime.

Speculators will buy and sell futures, or options on futures, for the purpose of making a profit. They will buy futures (a long position) when they think prices will rise, or they will sell futures (a short position) when they think prices will fall. Both the speculators and hedgers add volume to a market making it a more liquid market to trade.

Commodity futures trading is a type of investment where one can make money by speculating on the price of a certain commodity going up or down in the future.

When talking about certain commodities being traded in the futures market, they must meet certain conditions. One of the conditions is that the commodity should be standardized. In trading agricultural and industrial commodities, the traded commodity should be in its basic raw and unprocessed state. In this case, wheat may be traded in the futures market but not flour.

The history behind futures trading in commodities evolved from the farmer’s need to earn more from every harvest. Before commodity futures trading started, the farmers were always at the mercy of the dealer when it came to pricing and selling their harvests. Dealers usually set the prices and the farmers could not to anything but accept the terms.

In the search for having a more fair system of doing business, farmers began offering future harvest to interested buyers. The farmers started giving their own terms for the future harvests to dealers. The transaction consisted of commodities offered as a certain price and to be delivered as a specified date. Contracts were then drawn up between the farmer and the interested buyer that specified the certain amount of commodity to be delivered at a particular time in the future. From this system, what is now known as futures trading has begun.

It was sometime in 1878 that a central dealing facility for such commodities contracts was established in Chicago. In this facility, farmers and dealers began initially in spot dealing of their grains that was immediately delivered upon a reached settlement in price. It eventually evolved into futures trading when farmers started committing future harvests to interested dealers willing to buy to ensure that their grains supply are maintained in the future.

In the beginning, futures trading initially consists only of a few farm commodities such as grains. But later on, a huge number of other commodities joined in. Now there are futures trading markets that deal in precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum. There is also a futures trading market for livestock and cattle as well as for energy products such as crude oil and natural gas. It has gone on to include futures trading in coffee, orange juice ad industrials such as lumber, cotton and even on interest rate bearing instruments such as currencies and stocks.

In recent times, more trading has been done through the use of online futures trading, eliminating the use of telephones and calling of brokers on the telephones. The futures trader can trade directly from their computer and have the trade routed directly to the trading floor of the exchange. At the exchange some orders (electronic markets) are executed immediately in the exchanges computers. This is becoming the more preferred method of trading because it tends to be quicker.

Next Page »