To some of you, April 15 may still seem like a vague date in the distant future; in reality, the ominous IRS deadline for submitting tax returns is only six weeks away. The Scientist ran reviews of a few tax preparation programs last year, but changes in tax forms and tax laws have forced revisions on existing packages and even encouraged at least one new notable program to enter the market.

Since scientists are more likely than the average tax filer to have access to a personal computer—and thus more likely to prepare their own tax forms—I have reviewed three (of a dozen or so) programs that were developed or updated in anticipation of this year’s filing.

It may seem strange to pay $50 or $60 (typical mail order prices) for a program that you’ll only use once, given the anticipated changes for next year, and that deals only with...

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