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Tax tools and software worth checking out now that the new year is here

Following the holiday season, which many would say is their favorite season, comes tax season, which many would say is their least favorite. It’s the season of scrounging together every receipt from the last year and spending money on software and services because taxes are complicated.

It doesn’t help that if you do your taxes wrong, you could be leaving money on the table or could invite the Internal Revenue Service into your home and business. But if you grab the right tools and software, you won’t have to worry about either.

In this article: HP 17BII+ Financial Calculator, H&R Block Basic and Intuit Quickbooks Gold.

Tax tools

The best tax tools to have come tax season are:

  • Computer: The No. 1 tool you need to have come tax season if you want to handle things yourself is a computer. Not a phone or a tablet, a computer. You could make do with a phone or tablet if absolutely necessary, but a computer will make everything much smoother.
  • Calculator: You’re going to be crunching an endless series of numbers, and if any of those numbers are wrong, the consequences will grow exponentially worse. Don’t risk it, and use a financial calculator if you can.
  • Notebook: The easiest way to triple-check that you’ve done your math right is to note each and every calculation. This way, you can backtrack and find your mistake instead of just starting from scratch.
  • Pencils: Your taxes aren’t the New York Times Sunday crossword. Doing them with a pen isn’t impressive and can lead to a huge mess if you have to scratch something you did wrong out. Use a pencil instead.
  • Eraser: Oftentimes, the eraser on a pencil is mediocre at best and can leave streaks and smears of lead. Using a dedicated, high-quality eraser avoids that problem.

Tax software vs. accounting software

There are two major types of software you need to know about coming into tax season.

  • Tax software is used solely to calculate, track and otherwise complete your taxes. You can’t use it throughout the year, only during tax season. Every year you’ll need new software as tax laws change.
  • Accounting software is used year-round to track your income and expenses. Come tax season, this makes completing your taxes much easier. However, this is more expensive and requires you to do the work each and every day.

Best tax tools

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 Convertible Laptop

This is a hybrid device that blends laptop and tablet functionality. It runs on Google’s operating system, so you have instant access to its suite of tools, such as Google Sheets. 

Sold by Amazon

HP 17BII+ Financial Calculator

This calculator has every function you need, over 250 of them, to keep an accurate account of all your income and spending. It runs on CR2032 batteries, which are included.

Sold by Amazon

Mead Spiral Notebooks

This collection includes six notebooks, and all of them are college-ruled, are 8 by 11 inches and contain 70 sheets. They’re also hole-punched, and each one is a different color, such as green and yellow.

Sold by Amazon

Bic Xtra-Smooth Mechanical Pencils

This collection contains 10 pencils, and each uses 0.7-millimeter lead and has a different colored clip. The ends have a small eraser nub, and the barrel is clear to easily gauge how much lead is left.

Sold by Amazon

Mr. Pen Erasers For Kids

This six-pack of erasers features adorable animals. They also have two ends covered by lids: One is a standard eraser, and the other is a little roller that picks up eraser flakes.

Sold by Amazon

Best tax software

H&R Block Basic

This is the entry-level tax software from H&R Block, covering all the basics you might need if your income is simple and your circumstances uncomplicated. You can get a bonus 2.75% if you set your refund as an Amazon gift card.

Sold by Amazon and Best Buy

H&R Block Premium

This upgraded software covers those with multiple streams of income and those with complications, such as mortgages and investments. If you’re a small-business owner, though, you need more complex software.

Sold by Amazon and Best Buy

Intuit TurboTax Basic

This is the entry-level tax software from Intuit, one of the biggest and best names in tax software. This version comes with five federal e-files, which means your immediate family can do their taxes too. 

Sold by Amazon and Best Buy

Intuit TurboTax Business

If you run a small business and especially if you have employees, this software is here to help. It can create W-2s and 1099 tax forms as needed for those employees.

Sold by Amazon and Best Buy

Best accounting software

Quicken Starter Personal Finance

This starter software is meant for those just now entering the working world or living on their own. It helps you budget, schedule bills and keep track of your basic finances.

Sold by Amazon and Best Buy

Quicken Deluxe Personal Finance

This step up from the starter software helps you track your spending in detail and gives you an opportunity to target areas of your income and expenses where you can save instead of spend.

Sold by Best Buy

Quicken Home And Business Personal Finance

This software helps you track all your money flows from the various businesses and investments you may have, on top of your home finances. It can even make invoices for you. It’s a one-year subscription.

Sold by Amazon and Best Buy

Intuit Quickbooks Silver

This one-year subscription to QuickBooks gives you all the tools you need to succeed and thrive in your small business, though it’s not meant for those with employees. Up to 30 users can use it.

Sold by Amazon and Best Buy

Intuit Quickbooks Gold

This upgrade to the silver package includes the ability to make and track a payroll so you can stay on top of your employees’ needs. If you need to track inventory too, go with the Platinum version instead.

Sold by Amazon and Best Buy


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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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