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Best Tax Software Programs for Your 2017 Tax Return

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Late last year, Congress passed legislation that will cut tax rates, limit or eliminate some popular deductions, and double the standard deduction. As a result of the changes, the percentage of taxpayers who itemize deductions is expected to drop from about 33% this year to less than 10% next spring, when returns for 2018 are due.

But none of those changes will affect your 2017 tax return, for which the old rules still apply. If you’ve always itemized and your tax situation hasn’t changed, you’ll still want to itemize this year.

Fortunately, tax software can help you identify all the tax breaks you’re eligible to claim in a fraction of the time it takes to fill out a paper return. And if your tax situation is uncomplicated, you may be able to file your return electronically at no charge.

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For this year’s tax-program review, we used a hypothetical taxpayer who is single, has no dependents, claims the standard deduction, and had $1,200 in self-employment income in addition to income from a job reported on a Form W-2.

Most tax-filing programs require those who have self-employment income to upgrade to a more expensive version, even if you don’t itemize. It’s important to review each program’s terms before you start plugging in your numbers.

Keep in mind, too, that as the April 17, 2018, tax-filing deadline approaches, some software providers will increase their prices—either for their software or to file a return. That’s a good reason to file as early as possible.

All prices as of March 7.

Please Note: Links to products and services mentioned in this feature may be affiliate links. These business relationships played no role in the independent judgments and recommendations of the Kiplinger editorial staff. For more valuable offers from our merchant partners, visit our Marketplace.

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