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If you still do your taxes by hand with your Macintosh turned off on the desk in front of you, buy MacInTax. If you call MacConnection before 3:15 AM, you can go to sleep and they’ll have it at your door the next day so you can save an incredible amount of time in preparing the stupid tax return. And after you finish the real thing, you can make a copy and start having some fun. We always figure out what the difference would be if we were married (it’ll happen sometime, don’t worry) or if we earned a lot of money (not betting on that one anytime soon). I should mention that if you buy the program when it first starts being advertised, it doesn’t come with all the forms. That’s because Softview hasn’t quite finished programming all of them but wants you to have something basic to work with. When the forms are done (usually by late January or February, I think), Softview sends the updated package to you free of charge if you’ve sent in your registration card. That registration card also entitles you to a less-expensive upgrade the next year, although the price of the upgrade is not much cheaper than the discount price of the new package, a policy about which numerous people have complained to Softview. I’ll just say that I think the upgrade should be cheaper and leave it at that.

Softview also sells forms to prepare a number (I think 14, offhand) of state tax returns as well. However, almost no one who responded to our survey was pleased with the state forms. Apparently, the Pennsylvania forms shipped very late (in mid-March), making several people nervous, and one person said that the convertor did a terrible job of importing data into the Maryland forms. Another person (don’t know which state) agreed, saying he didn’t think MacInTax did a good job of importing data from the 1040 into the state forms. I didn’t get the New York forms to test, so I can’t comment on this, but it is something to keep in mind.

Oh, if you were wondering, as with all the tax programs, professional tax preparers, and the IRS itself, the company tries to make the program as accurate and correct as possible, but in the end, you are responsible for your own tax return. That’s one major reason why I like MacInTax – if I’m going to be ultimately responsible for my tax return, then I want to know what went in and what’s coming out.

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