Tax Preparation Software: Which Is The Best Deal For The Money?

How to choose among tax preparation software programs available on the market between based on performance, function and price.

There's no way around it, we all have to pay taxes, and many people with computers make it easy on themselves by purchasing a software program to assist with this tedious task. There are so many different software programs, each with capabilities in helping you fill out your tax information, but with different prices and different promises, how do you know which to choose? No matter what type of tax return you will file, there is a software program that is suitable just for you. If you have to file a plain 1040A or 1040EZ, your software program choice can be one of any number of programs, ranging from $15 to $100. But, if you have claims, you'll want a tax program that suggests these to you and helps you determine how much you can claim. Most of these programs cost about $75 - $100, but can be much higher if you need a program for a business. Tax software for a business can be upwards of $1,000 depending upon the particular software needed.

For the ordinary citizen, the Block Financial Tax Cut Deluxe for 2004, or Block Financial Tax Cut Premium 2004, are decent programs with small price tags, around $20 - $30. These programs calculate your taxes, amounts owed, amounts to be refunded and also suggest certain tax cuts you can lawfully claim. And the Microsoft Money 2005 falls in the same price range, with basically the same program features, but Money also has billing, invoices, accounting options, and even a specific software for small businesses. Block, on the other hand, offers other similar programs starting at $40 - $50 that are comparable.

TurboTax, one of the most popular tax return software programs on the market, has options for individuals or businesses and is a little more expensive, at just under $100, slightly cheaper than the Wasp Mobile Asset for at $130. Although most of these tax preparation software programs offer basically the same options, such as gathering info, calculating, and suggesting tax cuts you might have overlooked, many times you are paying for the name and reputation of the software company. Some programs that are very reasonably priced, but almost unheard of, are just as good at providing you and the IRS with an accurate tax statement.



Although the expression is "you pay for the name", what a person is usually talking about is the fact that some companies actually deliver what they promise, offer excellent customer service, provide flawless programs, and are compatible with most any PC. Hiring technology experts, doing polls with the customers, and always upgrading can be expensive. Often companies are forced to raise the prices of the software, albeit they are providing better and better programs. TurboTax, Microsoft Money, and Block Financial programs are all great programs with excellent reputations for the programs themselves and their customer service history. Because of these facts, one of these is probably your best option when making a software purchase for tax preparation.

When making a tax preparation software purchase, check the package of the software to see what options it offers and choose one that will provide you with the exact program that you need, or one that offers a selection of programs, all on one disk. Many of the tax software programs are standard with a choice of an individual setting or a business setting, making these types of programs more valuable to the individual who also owns a small business. One more thing to look for when purchasing tax return software is whether or not the company offers you online upgrades to the next year. No one wants to purchase another program each year that they do their taxes, so check for this upgrade provision before purchasing.

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