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Four Ways to Do Your Taxes Online

Here we are, just about halfway between New Year's Day and April 15. You've already received all of your end-of-year tax information, so you've got everything you need to file your taxes.

Rather than buying a boxed copy of TurboTax this year -- after all, buying software is very 1997 -- why not do your taxes online?

Don't scoff. I've bought a CD of TurboTax every year since about 1997, but last year, I used TurboTax's online app instead. I was a bit dubious at first, but I found that it was pretty much like using the boxed version, complete with the detailed assistance and friendly interface. The only real difference was that it was all in my Web browser, so there was nothing to install.

This year, if you want to file your taxes in a browser window, you've got several choices. Recently, PC Magazine reviewed four online tax preparation packages. Here's how they stacked up:

  • TurboTax Premier came out on top, rated the best way to do your taxes online, but also the most expensive.
  • H&R Block At Home Premium came in second place with kudos for a revamped interface and simplified language. Beware, though: You may remember this rebranded program as TaxCut.
  • TaxACT Online Ulitmate is a relative bargain at just $18, and it has a good interface as well. It's biggest shortcoming: Very limited assistance.
  • CompleteTax Freedom was lauded for its, well, completeness, but PC Magazine complained "its interface and navigation system make tax filing slow going."
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