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Computerized Investing > March 2010

Comparison: Tax Preparation Services

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by Cara Scatizzi

Preparing taxes has become easier in some ways and more difficult in others over the years. There are numerous online and software products to help individuals file their own taxes at a minimal cost. On the other hand, the tax code has seemingly become more complex, so mistakes are easy to make. Fortunately, the following software and online tax preparation programs have systems in place to double-check deductions and credits and flag anything that seems out of place. These same programs are also intuitive to use and can ease the burden of filing taxes.

This comparison covers three well-known services: TurboTax, H&R Block At Home and TaxAct. The programs are similar in their step-by-step guidance and ability to find appropriate deductions and credits. Where the programs differ is in the presentation of information, the help available and the price. Looking at each program individually, we discuss the process from start to finish using the online versions. The software versions of these services are similar to the online versions, but cost more since you can file multiple returns with a one-time purchase of the software. Online programs allow you to file only one return per account created.

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