Tax Software: which is the best ?

Reply Mon 23 May, 2005 08:36 pm
I have decided to purchase tax software designed for personal tax computation. Any advice from users, seasoned or otherwise would be valuable. My situation has become a bit more complex and I am starting to bump up against the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) and other such boogie men. So, I would like to have the ability to do some forecasting and modeling to see where I can lower my tax liability.

When is the best time to buy software that is up to date? How about low cost updates (online preferred) to keep the software current from year to year? I am not a tax preparer and don't think I need anything too comprehensive. I am not afraid to spend some time to learn good software that is comprehensive enough. Cost is an object but will be weighed with the usefulness of the software. Pretty general specs, I know but any advice would be welcome.

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Craven de Kere
Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 04:24 pm

I usually use a browser based client end to a server-side software.

The one I used this year is Turbo Tax (from Intuit, the makers of Quicken). Using an online service eliminates the need to keep your software updated.

I haven't ever used it to do tax modeling, but in my experience it has done well in finding savings for me.

I only do limited forecasting with taxes, and I tend to do it from the financial software I use (Microsoft Money Small Business 2005).
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Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 04:44 pm
I have used both taxcut and turbotax in the past. (about $30 each, plus free state software.)

Both have worked out just fine. Not much difference between them really. Different levels of each software depending on how comfortable you are with doing some of the work instead of listening to long videos designed to help you. (Turbotax, Turbotax Deluxe, and Turbotax Small business. I think you need Deluxe to get planning.)

Both are available online or in the store. They usually come out for the tax year in Nov with online updates after the first of the year. It always checks for new updates before you complete your taxes. They both have planning for the next year based on this year's tax law.

Each year you get new software that loads your information from the previous year. Probably a good thing because the changes are so many that it would be impossible to update an existing program from year to year. Once you have purchased one of the products and registered they send you info to get it for next year. (I buy it in the store when it bundles with free after rebate Norton Systemworks.)
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Reply Mon 6 Jun, 2005 09:38 pm
CDK and parados:

Thanks for the input. Your advice and experience squares pretty well with my research. I think TurboTax Premium is the ticket, for now. I am getting close to the AMT and have also opened a couple of new accounts in Vanguard's mutual funds and am unsure as to how much capital gain will be distributed (none if I'm lucky), so I wanted something to help with some simple tax modeling. Thanks again.

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