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Tired of slogging through piles of receipts and forms each tax season? Let someone else do the work for you. If you can't afford to invest in an accountant, several software programs can help make tax preparation less stressful.
Mint.com is a free, online tool that connects all of your financial information -- your checking and savings account balances, investment accounts, investments and credit cards -- in one place. The site lays out your finances on one page so you can see your entire financial picture at once. When tax time rolls around, you can quickly and easily generate reports on your business expenses, charitable contributions and virtually everything else you need to file your taxes.
Turbo Tax guides you through tax preparation and lets you file online. If you have a simple return, you can file for free. If your taxes are a bit more involved, fees start at $29.95. Turbo Tax (and many other tax preparation software programs) also makes record keeping easier by consolidating your financial information. For example, it will automatically download your credit card statement from the credit card company's Web site so you don't have to enter the information yourself.
When it comes time to file, you no longer need to fumble around with paperwork or stand on line for hours at the post office. The IRS offers Free File and e-file, which allow you to send your tax information electronically to the IRS online. The information is encrypted for safety.
For more information on taxes and personal finance, check the links on the next page.