What to Consider When Choosing Professional Tax Software

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The tax season is a fairly dreaded season for all taxpayers. Planning, preparing and filing federal taxes inevitably takes our precious time. It is especially more time consuming if done the old fashioned way. Luckily, with the current technological advancements, there are tax software that save us the energy and time. Online tax preparation tools help us to do tax preparation without fear of error or loss of money. It is paramount that every tax professional has access to such a tool. Bearing in mind that technology changes every other day, determining which tax software to purchase online comes with a little bit of homework – knowing which software is appropriate for your specific needs. Don’t you worry! I have done the homework for you and found out that these considerations are helpful when choosing the top tax software for professionals.

1. Decide whether to use a desktop tax software or an online tax software – You can download and install the tax software on your computer or use a tax software online. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but online software are generally easier to use. They do not require you to keep track of updates or protection against viruses. Remember to always have a printed copy of your tax return kept in a safe place regardless of which software you are using.

2. Choose which software version suits your needs – Basic, Deluxe or Premium? It is hard to find a software that has all the features needed for any return. Most of them come with different versions as mentioned above. Basic and deluxe versions of one company may have features different from features of the same versions from another company. Premium versions have slight differences, but share the base features. You should go through all the features of each version to determine which one works best for your tax preparation needs.

3. Can you get help organizing your tax deductions from the software? A good software should include explanations to tax laws and links to recent tax publications. This greatly helps as it makes tax preparation easier and less stressful. It should also have a tax deduction finder feature to dig up deductions that you might be forgetting.

4. Do you need eFile? If you want to file electronically, additional eFile fees can be included in the cost price of the tax software. Determine how much the software charges for electronic filing. This kind of filing is preferred to printing out and sending your tax return through mail.

5. How easily can the software provide help about how to use it? Top brands of tax software provide instantaneous support by chat. During a few occasions when the support representative has to do a research over your query, you might have to wait several minutes to have an answer. The software should have links to different forums where one can get answers to varying tax related issues. These forums are good for general questions and are created by professionals.

There should also be a toll-free number and email address through which you can get answers to any questions you have about the software.

6. Guarantee – The software manufacture should not fear to stand behind the products accuracy. In case you are audited, will you be offered professional help for free or at a cost? The cost of such a service should be indicated. Top tax software have the biggest refund guarantee.

7. Compatibility with your computer – This is only an issue when using desktop tax software. Check the requirements listed on the packaging box or on the software’s web page. Some software are for Mac, others for Windows and so on. Make sure the software you choose can run on your system.

8. Finally, the software should always be updated – This is not obvious. Some tax software from previous years may be available online at a discount. Check which year the software should be used for. For example, in 2016, you prepare income tax returns for tax year 2015.

With these guidelines, you are sure to have an easy time choosing the best professional tax software.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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