Selecting the Right Tax Planning Software for You

Tax planning software is convenient to use and the best ones are more accurate than many tax preparation services. With so many options available, making the right choice can seem overwhelming. Here are some guidelines for selecting the right tax planning software for you:

Step-by-Step Guidance

You don't want to choose a tax planning software that offers little or no help in filling out tax forms. If you find yourself researching answers to tax questions on your own, outside of the software, then you have the wrong one. The right tax planning software holds your hand through the tax planning process, and will guide you step by step, answering typical questions along the way.

The best way to find out before making your purchase is to view a demo. If the demo is confusing, or not particularly helpful, then the full version will most likely be the same way. You should also check reviews on the software. If everyone is complaining about the lack of guidance it provides, then it's not worth buying.

Technical Support

This is perhaps one of the most important aspects of selecting the right tax planning software. The software is only as good as the technical support it offers. There will be glitches along the way, or it may not work as promised. If you don't have access to competent technical support, you'll get frustrated and you might have to stop using the software midway. Make sure there is 24/7 support, along with a 1-800 number.

Some software support is only available using email, and it can take days to get a response back, if ever. Stay way from those and make sure you'll have the opportunity to talk to a real person. The support should be free of charge as well. Some software programs make their money on fees paid during a technical support call, and their product is of a lesser quality because of that.

Online Software

The tax code is complex, and it changes each year. That means the tax planning software you buy this year will be outdated next year. Instead of buying updates or new software each year, find an online tax planning software that you can trust. You can use it from year to year without worries about updating the software yourself, because it will do it for you. Also, your information is stored, which means you don't have to enter in your personal information every year. A well integrated tax planning software will pull last year's information and enter it in this year's tax forms for you.

You want tax planning software that's specifically geared towards taxes, and not general personal finance software. The audiences for these two products are different, and tax planning software is more detailed and often reviewed or created by accountants. If you have to choose one or the other due to budget limitation, pay for access to an online tax planning software and use a free personal finance software already on your computer or available online.

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