Which Tax Software should I use?

I am an accounting student that will graduate in Dec and be eligible to sit for the CPA upon graduation. I have already taken Tax 1 and am enrolled in Tax 2 (corporations trusts etc) this semester. I will be
doing my own taxes plus my parents and inlaws and probably a few friends and co-workers ( I work full-time and go to school full-time). I anticipate preparing maybe 20 returns at the most unless the people at work jump on board in greater numbers.
Anyway I am curious which software will be best to use. I cannot justify really expensive software but I need it to prepare multiple federal forms and State taxes for Arkansas and probably Oklahoma. Being able to e-file would be a plus as well even if it were on a pay per return case.
Thanks for your responses in advance.
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It probably doesn't matter which one at this time, but find one that let's you do pay-per-return, so you only buy what you need. Most of the commercial software has this option.
--
Paul A. Thomas, CPA
Athens, Georgia
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On Mon, 15 Jan 2007 19:25:58 -0500, "Paul Thomas"

Then you are saying any of the ones for sale at the retail locations would do? like tax cut or one of those?
I may be dealing with schedules a,b,c d,h for sure and who knows what else.
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First, you need to be aware of the capacity of the software itself. Can you legally prepare dozens of returns with the one box you bought in the milk aisle of the grocery store? Then you need to know if the software you are buying fits your potential needs. In that, will it generate the returns (or e-file) that you anticipate being asked to prepare?
I'm not giving you any names of specific software because you need to determine on your own what you are comfortable with. If this grows on you, you'll probably be with the same software for years. A good decision up front (that should have been made in October) will save hours, days or weeks later down the road.
That being said, I wouldn't recommend boxed software from the local retailer. It's probably limited in the number of returns you can prepare, it's going to cost extra to e-file, and it may not cover all the potential returns you may get asked to prepare.
The professional grade software have per-return pricing for around $10 (some more, some less).
Start here: http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/oct2006/zarowin.htm for a survey of all the professional software out there. From there you can begin to determine what you'd like to look at.
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Paul Thomas, CPA
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Take a look at these low end products:
TaxAct - It's about $100 then they charge per efiling: http://www.taxact.com/products/index_professional.asp
Another one I've looked at is ATX, their low end $400 product has unlimited efile: http://www.atxinc.com/Products/compare_individual.aspx
And one more step up would be Tax Wise at about $1000: http://www.taxwise.com/products/pricing.html
The last two products have been bought out by CCH but are still available as independent products. I used TaxAct's individual product several years ago for my personal return - it did the job. Also I've used Tax Wise a few years ago since it was used in our VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program ( http://www.centerforprogress.org/ ).
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On Mon, 15 Jan 2007 16:32:32 -0800, 2BACPA

This will be the first year I do taxes for others and am contemplating the software choices I have been pointed to, so thanks alot for that information.
Another question though. Do I need to file form 8633 quickly to be allowed to efile for my clients or does the software just do it regardless?
If I have to file that form, is there a particular amount of time it takes for me to get whatever I need in order to be able to do the efiling?
I agree with Paul, I should have been on this in October. I figured my courseload would preclude my being able to do taxes, but it's actually not so bad so I decided (however belatedly) to jump into the mix.
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It's possible the software does that, but to be safe, and get a head start, file the form now.
There's a way to do it on-line at the IRS website I believe, but maybe only for CPA's, EA's and a few others. I think fingerprint cards are in order if you are not one of the above.

Yup. You'll get an EFIN, a special identification number to allow e-file. It's good forever.

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Paul Thomas, CPA
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On Wed, 17 Jan 2007 16:25:29 -0500, "Paul Thomas, CPA"
WOW!
thanks for the quick response. I really appreciate it.

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look into pro series, pay per return....

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