How to Choose the Right Tax Return Software

How to Choose the Right Tax Return Software

Every taxpayer has different needs in filing their federal tax returns. If you want to use tax return software, there are things that you need to consider when choosing which one right for your tax needs. The software has different features and knowing the differences will help you make an informed decision.

Basic, Deluxe, Premium

Most programs have three different versions. Basic level is for people who do not have or do not need itemized deductions. The basic or standard software will assist you in preparing a simple tax return and will check for any errors on the information. It will also assist you in e-filing your tax return.

If you have a more complex tax needs, the deluxe version will help you prepare your tax return that involves deductions such as charitable contributions, mortgages and other applicable deductions. This version will provide you with more written and video documentations on specific tax issues.

The premiere or premium software are ideal for people who have small businesses and other investments as it provides more documentations and resources to all the tax subjects that you will need. It is very helpful in keeping your returns up to date with all changes in the tax laws.

Web based or desktop tax return software

There are certain advantages and disadvantages in choosing either the web based program or the desktop. However, more and more people are leaning towards getting the web based software as it is easier to maintain. Another helpful feature of web based software is that the server automatically updates when the IRS changes its tax codes. When you log in, the you will automatically receive the updates compared to having desktop programs where there are chances of the updates’ system requirements conflicting with your computer. This is likely to happen if you have an old computer. Web based tax software are also more convenient to use as they can be accessed from any computer so long as you have internet connection and your log in information.


Before you purchase it, you also need to check the inclusions in the package. Most do not include e-filing in the price so you will have to pay separately if you want to e-file your tax return. Also, most software packages do not include preparation and filing of state or federal taxes.