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How do I Choose the Best Income Tax Preparation Software?

Article Details
  • Written By: Tiffany Manley
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 14 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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With the rising costs of paying someone to prepare income tax returns, many people have found it much more beneficial to use income tax preparation software to file their taxes. Each year, it seems that more and more software developers come out with new income tax preparation software, so it might be difficult for you to figure out which one to use. To choose the best income tax preparation software, look for one that automatically searches for the most recent updates to tax laws, offers a step-by-step approach to filling out tax forms, offers preparation of local or regional income tax returns and offers electronic filing.

Many times, tax laws are changing and evolving even as individuals have begun to file their income tax returns. Select an income tax preparation software package that stays up to date with these changes and is updated regularly to reflect them. It also is important to look for software that will inform you if there is a change that will go into effect at a certain date and advises you to refrain from filing your tax returns until the change has been implemented. This can help prevent the need to file an amended return.

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Most people who use income tax preparation software are not trained tax professionals. Finding software that advises you during every step of the process is important because it can help you avoid costly mistakes. Many programs ask an assortment of questions that guide you in making the appropriate choices on your tax return. Some even offer the assistance of a tax professional for an additional fee.

Many areas require the filing of a regional or local income tax return. Looking for software that allows you to file this return at the same time as other tax returns can save time. Further, many types of software allow you to transfer information from another tax return if the same software has been used.

Electronic filing of income tax returns has become more common. Many income tax preparation software packages offer this service as an added benefit to consumers. Using this method of income tax filing generally allows any tax refund to be received in a much faster manner than when using traditional paper tax filing. Look for software that also allows you to check the status of the return and to ensure that the government authority has received it and approved it.

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