As I have done for the past few years, I’m choosing to do my personal tax returns myself, by hand, using a simple pencil, eraser and calculator. However, many of you might not want this hassle and there’s two main contenders in the tax preparation software business. Intuit’s TurboTax and H&R Block’s TaxCut. There are others, of course, and the NY Times writes If you go to the Internal Revenue Service Web site, www.irs.gov, and click on the link to a program called Free File, you will be directed to 20 different online tax preparation sites that let you compile and file relatively simple federal returns electronically – at no cost. Many of these sites impose some age or income restrictions, but some are open to all filers.
While these online preparation web sites are fine for very simple tax returns, if you have more complex returns, it’s probably best to purchase a more robust tax package.
The NY Times continues TURBOTAX This is still the dominant player in desktop tax software, controlling around 70 percent of the market, and I can understand why.
Its interview – a breezy question-and-answer process that helps taxpayers answer various I.R.S. questions – comes the closest to plain English.
When considering charitable donations, for example, many programs ask what “cash” contributions were made in the previous year. But TurboTax makes sure to ask how much “money” was donated over all. (Some taxpayers misinterpret “cash” to mean only hard currency, as opposed to charitable gifts made by check or credit card payments.) Read the full NY Times review here
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