Unless you're planning on throwing a tea party, you and Uncle Sam have a date on April 15. This time around, get chaperoned by the army of CPAs and tax attorneys that put together this wonderful equalizer. With TaxCut , the annual bloodletting is much faster and less painful. Our favorite feature: an audit guard that bulletproofs your return against persnickety IRS examiners. With TaxCut, you'll file with confidence--no trepidation.
Street price: $70
Requires: Windows 95/98/NT (for workgroups),
16MB Ram, 35MB hard-drive space
Kansas City, Missouri
Essentially neck-in-neck with TaxCut in terms of features and versatility, Quicken Turbo tax Home & Business has undergone a facelift this year. This screen is less cluttered, and the entire design is built to replicate the feel and functionality of the Web. Indeed, TurboTax even uses the same hyperlinks that web users click to get from place to place. Major advantage: TurbTax is designed by the same people who make Quicken and QuickBooks. If you're already comfortable with those programs, Turbotax may be your ticket.
Street Price: $50
Requires: Windows 95/98/NT, 16MB Ram, 30MB hard-drive space
Mountain View, California
The new kid on the block, TaxSaver's primary distinction is that it's made by the same company that makes Money--a popular organizational and planning tool for finances. With the Deluxe version, you also get free electronic filing, a free copy of Internet Explorer 5.0 and three free months of MSN Internet service. The only downsides: you have to download state forms from the Net. And currently, there's no special version for small businesses. But otherwise, this is a perfect fit for Microsoft fans already comfortable with the workings of Money.
Street price: $40 deluxe
Requires: Windows 95, 16MB RAM, 175MB hard-drive space
J.W. Dysart (firstname.lastname@example.org), a software analyst and Internet business consultant, has written for more than 40 publications, including The New York Times.