Thursday, February 28, 2008

Software can save when filing your taxes

Unless you've always dreamed of quitting your day job and becoming a CPA, there's only one reason for you to do your own taxes: to save money.

The average tax-preparation fee for a federal return with itemized deductions and a state return is $205, the National Society of Accountants says. If you don't itemize, the average fee is $115.

But with tax software, you can prepare your own return for less than half that amount. Taxpayers with adjusted gross income of $54,000 or less can prepare and electronically file their federal returns for free via the IRS Free File program.

Desktop programs cost more than online programs, but they let you keep your financial information on your computer until you e-file your returns (or print them out and mail them in). If you're uncomfortable typing sensitive financial information into an online program, you may prefer a desktop program. The most popular desktop programs also let you prepare more than one return — a handy feature if you need to file returns for several family members.

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