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We know the tax code is complex, and the zillions of available forms and schedules don't make things any less confusing. Doing a tax return by hand is almost impossible these days, unless you have a super simple tax situation.

Whether your tax return is easy or complicated, you'll probably have an easier time of it if you use tax software. There are great tax packages out there, including Turbo Tax and Tax Cut. They simplify the process of preparing a tax return because the software tells you what forms you need and offers them to you. No more searching the instructions or the IRS website for the forms you need. Tax software also helps cut down on errors by alerting you to important items that need to be included in your tax return.

If you're confident about your tax situation, you can certainly try using one tax software. However, filling out the software's questionnaire is no substitute for a tax preparer with in-depth knowledge of the tax laws. Use tax software with caution.

Read more Tips for Tax Procrastinators

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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