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Tax Software

Use these tools to make filing your business returns less taxing.

It's that time of year again--time to start thinking about filing annual income tax statements. Though it's never a particularly pleasant task, the software packages on the market today can make this annual event a bit less intimidating.

Historically, small-business people either have struggled along on their own, preparing tax forms each year, or have found themselves faced with potentially large tax-preparation bills. Today's tax-software packages are powerful, user-friendly tools that are available for prices well under $100, allowing you to save both time and money.

K. Richard Helms is the owner and operator of Helms and Co., an independently owned accounting and tax-consulting firm in the village of Wellsville, New York. He considers TurboTax to be far and away the best tax software package for individual business return preparation. "The main asset for the amateur preparer is that the program walks the individual through the preparation process," Helms says. While he doesn't recommend that small-business owners do their tax returns entirely on their own, he does point out that the TurboTax programs are "a good source of forecasting and accumulating information for the professional preparer."

Even if you're faced with complex tax issues and will need to call upon the advice of a tax professional, a tax-software package will provide you with a helpful first draft--a good starting point for your tax discussions. The more work you can do on your own, and the better prepared you are, the less time (and money) you'll need to invest with a tax accountant.

Lin Grensing-Pophal writes about business from her home office in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

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This article was originally published in the April 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Tax Software.

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