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Assessing Your Tax Preparation Software Needs

How to pick the right tax software

If you’re going to use tax software this year for tax filing, don’t just pick the first one that comes to mind. It might seem like they’re all the same, but they’re not. Here’s a helpful guide for selecting the best tax software this tax season.

Tax Software is For…

You may consider using tax software if your finances are fairly straightforward. That means you have a W-2 and don’t need to itemize. Using tax software can also help you get a refund faster if you elect to have your refund directly deposited into your bank account, not mailed as a check. Before you look into tax software, check to see if you qualify for free filing. You can check the IRS website for additional information.

Tax Software Isn’t For…

You may consider avoiding tax software if your tax situation is more complicated. Tax software may not be adequate or cost-effective if you have the following:

Different income sources
Multiple investments
Many itemized deductions
Real estate properties
In a more complex tax scenario, you should consider opting for a professional tax advisor.

How to Pick the Right Tax Software

Before paying for tax software, shop around. Here are some things to consider:

Customer Service. What do people say about the company’s customer service? You don’t want to have to jump through hoops just to get an answer about your taxes or the software.

Tax Forms. Make sure the software you choose offers all the tax forms that you need, both state and federal.

Price. While you don’t just want to automatically pick the cheapest software, it is an important factor to consider.

Do One Thing: Shop around and compare different tax software options before purchasing one.

Chris O'Shea/SavvyMoney

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