Depending on your situation, tax preparation software can be a godsend or it can be overkill. If you don't itemize, you're probably better off preparing your forms longhand and saving yourself a few bucks. However, if your income meets certain criteria, you could qualify to use free tax software available at IRS.gov. If you've experienced one or more major life events during the tax year, you actually may be better off having a qualified tax preparer do your taxes. Things like getting married, buying a house, or inheriting money all introduce new tax scenarios into your financial life that even the best tax software can't ideally address. If you're at a point in life where you've been itemizing deductions for a long time and your financial life is relatively stable, tax preparation software is probably a good idea. It's generally cheaper than paying a tax preparer, and you can do it at your convenience (even if that's 9:00 a.m. on April 15). The software—at least for the most popular packages—couldn't be easier to use. If you're hoping for a tax cut, software will likely deliver. That's because the software programs are designed to look for deductions you may have overlooked. If you do decide to use tax software, make sure your computer meets the minimum requirements first. You can find the minimum system requirements on the software box or look it up on the manufacturer's Web site.
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