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Regardless of how much experience you have in using any tax software program, it has to be easy for you to use or else it will of no use to you. A good tax software program will be user friendly for any skills level. What does that mean?
It should provide many ‘drill down menus'. These are the menus found when you click on a subject area. They contain individual sub-categories of the main subject. For instance, ‘Business expenses' is the main subject area. You click on ‘Business expenses' and the following sub-categories are listed: advertising, professional fees, rent, depreciation. By clicking on one of these subcategories, you will receive information that applies to it. This process needs to be quick and easy. Plus, when you click on the subcategory that you are interested in, information applying to it should show up. (Don't laugh, in a poorly written/developed software program, unrelated subjects to pop up.)
It needs to be well written. Well written means ‘plain English'. If there is too much technical lingo and you cannot understand it - Don't use it. Find a tax software program that explains things in easy to understand terms. The most popular, and better ones, present tax information so everyone can understand it.
It needs to have methods of contact. If you have any questions, there needs to be a way for you to contact the company. If not, find a software program that has this capability.
Information is easily obtainable. This means you do not have to wait forever once you click on something. Information you are interested in (and clicked on) should show up within seconds.
Tax library. You need to be able to access a tax library if you have any questions or concerns. This library needs to be broken down per subject area. Information is not linked to an outside program. It is all contained within the tax software program you are using.
Importing. If you can easily import your accounting files from another software program you have, that will save you a lot of time and frustration.
Saving files. You can easily save files for future reference. There needs to be a way for you to save files to your hard drive, if needed.
Printing files. You can easily print what you need while using your tax software. There is no special equipment or download to perform.
Easily downloadable. Your tax software program needs to be easy to download to your computer. It will not tie up your computer for hours during the process.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|