The American dollar started the week firm against the other currencies. On the Euro, the bearish trend line which began last week, as shown in the chart below, has continued to hold the price down. The pair is looking bearish on all time horizons and rallies might provide another good shorting opportunity.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Those who treat trading as a get-rich-quick scheme are likely to lose because they have to take big risks. If you act prudently, treat your trading like a business instead of a giant gambling casino and are willing to settle for a reasonable return, the risks are acceptable.
Anyone who is going to try speculation should be fully aware of and be comfortable with the risks involved. Managing the risks of trading is a very important part of any trader’s success. Although the risks can be managed, they can never be eliminated.
In order to make decisions about when to trade commodity futures, you must have a source of price data. All experienced commodity traders prefer to look at price activity on a chart rather than trying to interpret tables of numbers. In financial analysis, charts are indispensable for quickly grasping the essence of historical and recent price action.
There are two primary analytic methods for deciding when to take a futures position: fundamental analysis and technical analysis. Fundamental analysis involves using economic data relating to supply and demand to forecast likely future price action. Technical analysis involves analyzing past price action of the market itself to forecast the likely future price action.
If you are going to be involved in trading and investing in the futures, you need to strategize. You have to study your moves and make sure that you calculate each step that you take as you go along. You cannot simply rely on good luck when there is already money involved.
In order to be a successful trader, you must understand the true realities of the markets. You must learn how the professionals make money and what is possible. Most traders come into commodity trading, lose a substantial portion of their capital and then leave trading without ever having a correct perception of what good trading is all about.
The forex market is the largest and most liquid of the financial markets. Daily activity often exceeds $7 trillion USD a day. It is the existence of volatility within the forex market that enables trader’s to take advantage of exchange rate fluctuations for speculative purposes. Traders must be aware that greater volatility also means greater risk potential.
Forex trading operates 24 hours a day, five days a week. The greatest liquidity occurs when operational hours in multiple time zones overlap. The cost to trade with most forex brokers is the spread. This is the difference between the bid and the ask price. Spreads in the forex market also tend to be much less (or tighter) than the spreads applied to other securities such as stocks.
Leverage is expressed as a ratio and is based on the margin requirements imposed by your broker. As a trader, it is important to understand both the benefits, and the pitfalls, of trading with leverage. 2% margin is equivalent to a 50:1 leverage ratio. With as little as $1,000 of margin available in your account, you can trade up to $50,000 at 50:1 leverage.
When trading on leverage, the funds in your account (the minimum margin) serve as your collateral. Therefore, it is only natural that your broker will not allow your account balance to fall below the minimum margin.
The forex markets run all day, which is very advantageous to short-term traders who tend to take positions over short durations (say a few minutes to a few hours). For example, Australia’s daytime is the nighttime for the East Coast of the US.