Not everyone should use electronic tax software to prepare their taxes. If your taxes are simple, you don't need to bother. On the other hand, if you're not confident in your ability to make sense of the tax code or had an eventful year for tax purposes, you might consider hiring a tax professional. But if you know your way around a tax return, you might look into the major tax preparation programs.
When it comes to thinking about taxes, December trumps April every time. In April, your focus is primarily on minimizing the tax consequences of the previous year, but in December you have the luxury of thinking about the big picture. By December, you should have a pretty good understanding of your tax liabilities for the current year, while being well positioned to assess the factors that will affect your taxes during the next 12 months.
For a number of years, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been issuing refunds electronically, directly into citizens' bank accounts.* Taxpayers like this method because it is fast and secure. Now, thanks to the growing popularity of the agency's Free File service, more taxpayers are filing their returns electronically. As the name of the program suggests, the price is right.