What Tax Preparation Software Makes the Job Less Taxing?

January 19, 2008

The answers to the question may be different for you, but this is solely based on my experience with tax preparation software.

First, if you go into any store that sells computer software, you will see tax preparation boxes littering the shelves at this time of year. Everyone wants to make a stressful process a little easier. However, I totally do not understand why anyone buys them. They change every year, and you can just go online and get the same software for a cheaper fee or free.

For example, last year I bought Microsoft Money to help me keep track of my income and expenses. I also have access to a voucher program. Now, I have a problem. If I use the voucher program, it puts any amount paid directly into the check registry. Oops! When I download the information from the bank, it is all messed up. It says it will help do my taxes, but I do not think so! Maybe I just need to be smarter than the software?

According to the reviews I have read, Turbo Tax is the most popular because it can do complicated tax forms that many people would not want to consider completing by hand. With a series of questions, it is said to have the capability to get you painlessly through most any standard or unique tax issue. It has Federal, State, and home business capabilities.

As for me, I used to do my taxes all by myself for years, until I found TaxAct online. I wanted to e-file my taxes and get the job done quicker. In comparison to the top three, it ranks 3rd. It ranks under Turbo Tax and TaxCut by H & R Block because it does not import files and it does not offer as many help messages during the process.

I did mine online with TaxAct and it served my needs well. Plus, it was free! I plan on using it again this year. Admittedly, I do not have very complicated tax issues, but when doing them manually I was never quite sure whether I should I file single or head of household, since my ex claims the kids on his taxes. (He accused me of misfiling one year. I did not, but he was being audited.) Thank goodness, the online program simply asks me, “do you have dependents that live in your house the majority of the year, but you can’t claim them because of a former spouse? Life saver! I am sold!

What tax software would you recommend and why?



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2 Responses to What Tax Preparation Software Makes the Job Less Taxing?

  • rambkowalczyk

    I have used both Turbo Tax and Tax Cut and have found them both to be similiar. I need to use schedule E, and D, and C and both are good at navigating through that paperwork. Inevitably there will always be that one question that the program can’t answer but overall them high marks. For a while I favored TaxCut over TurboTax but that was because Turbotax was trying to make it impossible to do more than one tax return on it. Since I also had to do my children’s income tax, I found that policy restrictive. I don’t think Turbotax does this anymore.

  • Bob Meighan

    Tina… It’s worth noting that TurboTax provides a free Online solution too that has no income limitations. TurboTax Free Edition (www.turbotax.com) enables you to prepare and electronically file (including direct deposit) your federal return absolutely free. Join the 15 million other Americans who used TurboTax last year to file their return! It’s the most popular tax prep software because it’s easier to use. Period!

    Bob Meighan
    VP, TurboTax