Guide to Desktop Tax Software

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Conclusion and Postscript Tips

Here's the summary: If all you file is Form 1040EZ, head straight to TaxAct and download the program--the price is right. You can pay the small e-filing fee or print out your return and mail it yourself.

If you have a complex tax situation, however, carefully consider which IRS schedule is likely to cause you the most difficulty. Then choose the package that handles that form best.

Another variable to consider is complications arising from the sale of investment assets. Stocks and bonds are the simplest items in this category. Sale of real business property such as rental housing makes a return even more complex. You might be best served by a Premier version of the product you choose.

Each packaged produced the same results with the test tax return, indicating that they are all accurate. You may get different results, however, because some sites ask more questions than others and therefore may identify additional deductions.

Again, TurboTax is the most thorough of the three, but each program has positive aspects. The one to pick depends on the year you had--and what Uncle Sam is expecting from it.

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