Expert reviews do-it-yourself tax software options

DIY tax software options vary in price, assistance


ORLANDO, Fla. – If your tax profile isn't layered with sales of stocks, bonds and investment gains or losses, chances are you won't need to hire an accountant to prepare your taxes this year.

[WEB EXTRA: Tax Software review ]

A review of three user-friendly software options found varying prices and tax help, according to Kiplinger Magazine's associate editor Sandra Block.

Local 6 found that TaxAct, H&R Block and Turbo Tax are all user-friendly and affordable.

Block agrees, saying if you have accurate information and receipts, the programs essentially do the work for you.

"If you're the typical taxpayer, where you might have maybe a home mortgage, a couple of kids, maybe some modest income from your bank account and capital gains dividends, I really don't think there's any reason not to do it yourself," Block said.

In terms of price, Block said TaxAct is by far the best price at just $21.99.

She said if you are tax savvy TurboTax is a good choice, but when it comes to handling your tax questions, she said it left her a bit uncomfortable. Tax questions are fielded by a TurboTax chat room or "community."

"I had no idea what their background was and that was a little off-putting to me," she said.

Block said H&R Block's program offered the best help, was easy to use and cost $62.48 for the deluxe online product to prepare and e-file one federal and state tax return.

Overall, she told Local 6 she felt Turbo Tax was the best system despite its $91.98 price tag, because it imports information from most banks and brokerages.

Again, with all three programs, math is not an issue as long as you punch in the right numbers for  income and deductions.

"None of them make you do math," she said. "They all do the numbers for you, so that should not be a deterrent to any of them."

Click here for more on the tax software review.