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Not too taxing

‘Tis the season when half the software in stores and most of their prime end-cap real estate seems to be devoted to tax programs. But one program is leading the pack.

‘Tis the season when half the software in stores and most of their prime end-cap real estate seems to be devoted to tax programs. Intuit’s TurboTax Business, a Windows-only product (Intuit.com, $80 street, plus $39.95 for an optional state module available mainly online), prepares only “pure” business tax forms: 1120 (corporation), 1120S (S-corporation), 1065 (Partnerships and LLC’s up to 100 partners), and 1041 (estates and trusts). At installation, you select one of these return types (uninstall/reinstall for others). I’ve used the program for the 1065’s of my own small LLC for the past seven years.

TurboTax Business uses the same approach as Intuit’s personal versions. You can follow your nose through an exhaustive “Easy-Step” interview, complete tax forms directly (but with all calculations done for you, including depreciation–worth the price of tax software by itself), or bounce between the two methods. You can transfer your data from last year’s return with one click if you did it in TurboTax, and Intuit claims that TurboTax supports data import from last year’s H&R Block TaxCut. QuickBooks and Quicken users (of 2002 or later versions) can have TurboTax automatically grab tax-related items from their data files, and imports are also supported from other programs that can create .txf files.

These are imports, not dynamic links, so you should bring your books up to date before starting your taxes (good practice anyway). The state module uses the federal information and leads you through that return, a boon to those with complex state forms. Plenty of advice is only a click or two away, including sidebar FAQs, on-disc and online guides and publications, and video clips on key topics.

In closing, I must point out that TaxCut Home & Business (not reviewed) does personal/Schedule C and all the above business returns for $49.95–including a free state download. However, it can’t import from QuickBooks–a feature that by itself may be worth the extra 70 bucks for TurboTax Business.

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