Tax Software Reviews
Popular Tax Software Reviews - What is The Best Tax Software Program?
Whether to pay income tax or not to pay income tax is a completely irrelevant question. It is never either or because there are no options here. You have to pay your income tax, at least if you are an honest and a law abiding citizen.
You do, however, have several options available to you when it comes to preparing and filing your federal and state income tax returns:
You could do it yourself with the booklet that is so generously provided by the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) in one hand and a stack of pay stubs, receipts, and blank income tax forms in the other.
You could try to wade through all the confusing instructions while surviving the very long and painfully frustrating hours of hard work and uncertainty. But why would you want to do that to yourself?
You could also go to an income tax preparation professional who will invite you to his office at his convenience not yours. He will expect you to know exactly which documentation to bring along and which is unnecessary. He will also bombard you with questions and toss glances of disbelief although you have answered them all truthfully. When your turn finally comes to ask a few questions he will respond as briefly as possible and anxiously glance at his watch because his next client is crowding his door.
At the end of this pleasant session you are quoted a fee that will break you until your tax refund arrives. Would you want to go through any of that?
Preparing Your Tax Return Yourself With Tax Software
The final option in income tax preparation and filing is the use of any one of the many online tax software programs. These allow you to prepare your income tax returns in the comfort of your own home, at your own pace and time schedule, and many of them are free.
Most of these programs are user friendly while gently guiding you through the entire process. This is the option I would choose and I advise all that will listen to do the same.
For your convenience, I have compiled a list of the most popular tax software packages and their reviews by the tax industry’s top professionals:
> William Perez of About.com spent many hours testing the following programs. Turbo Tax is at the top of Perez’s ranking and he recommends it especially for the self-employed and landlords.
TurboTax is very quick and easy for simple tax returns but may be harder to find less-common data entry screens. The TurboTax live community provides easy access to relevant help and support when you need it if you have questions about taxes or using the TurboTax tax software editions.
Quick and easy tax preparation is presented in an updated interface, At Home is ideal for simple tax returns. H&R Block, the has done a good job of making data entry screens easy to read. H&R Block offers "Worry-Free Audit Support," where an tax professional will help defend your return that was prepared with their software against an IRS audit it it's a software error, this is included in the price of the software.
Other Choices Include:
eSmart Tax: eSmart Tax features an interview-style interface that guides you through the data entry screens. By answering a few basic questions about your type of income and deductions you will have, eSmart Tax tailors the rest of the software to ask only those questions that are most relevant to your tax situation.
TaxBrain: TaxBrain uses forms-style data entry screens to gather your income tax data, which is quite different than the interview-style screens found in TurboTax or H&R Block At Home. This is a nice user-interface that provides faster tax preparation for straightforward tax returns. Taxpayers with more complex tax returns will spend more time working with long, data-entry forms for business income, investments, and itemized deductions. TaxBrain is a good choice for wage-earners with few deductions or other tax issues.
> Kathy Yakal reviews tax software for PC Magazine yearly. She looks for ease of use, guidance, help functions and convenience.
Turbo Tax is at the top of Yakal’s ranking and was awarded an Editor’s Choice designation.
H&R Block At Home is second on Yakal’s list but fairly distant from the first ranking.
Yakal recommends TaxAct only for those who have used it in the past years.
Comparing The Best Tax Software Brands
> Shelley Elmblad of About.com reviewed and compared H&R Block At Home and Turbo Tax —
Elmblad favors H&R Block At Home for its easier mode of navigation and the lower price. She feels that users get more features for their dollar.
According to Elmblad, Turbo Tax is equally comprehensive and reliable but comes only second to H&R Block At Home.
Of Course There Are Free File Options
Free Tax Software
The IRS has teamed up with nineteen software companies to offer tax preparation for free or at a low-cost for most Americans. You are required to to start on the IRS Free File website. Going directly to one of the participating company's website won't qualify you for the free tax filing services. Some of the participating software vendors are top-notch so give them a try.
There you have it; the two top choices for tax software are Turbo Tax, H&R Block At Home. I recommend you give one of these top performing packages a try... Good luck!