Ouch. it's tax time again--time to roll up your sleeves, rummage through your receipts and update your computer files. Of course, you could leave the dirty work to an accountant, but with today's plethora of tax software programs, you may not need to.
The tax software game has been the same for several years. There are the dominant programs--namely, Intuit's TurboTax and Block Financial's Kiplinger TaxCut--and a few other less popular programs, such as Personal Tax Edge from Parsons Technology (which is also owned by Intuit), all reviewed here.
Because IRS forms and schedules aren't completed until the end of the year, final versions of these programs were not available at press time. I reviewed beta versions of TurboTax and Personal Tax Edge and, for TaxCut, a shipping product called "The Planning Edition."
As I'm not an accountant (nor especially adept at tax returns), I focused on the usability of each program. All three work under Windows 3.1 or Windows 95. Both TurboTax and TaxCut also offer Macintosh versions, while Personal Tax Edge still comes in a DOS version.