Picks and Pans Review: Turbo Tax

updated 03/20/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/20/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

This is the most complete of the programs (it handles 39 forms) as well as the most intimidating: Its manual, which contains no tax information, only an outline of the program, runs to 236 pages. The reason soon becomes clear: TurboTax can do almost everything (everything, its box proclaims, except "print the money"). And it does just about everything right; even if you want to cut corners, you can't. For instance, before you can enter your income on a 1040, the program makes you calculate it on a worksheet. When the data for a mythical taxpayer were entered in each of the four programs, all four figured out how much he owed the government in tax. But only TurboTax noted that, because of underwithholding, he probably owed a penalty as well. It's easy to be put off initially by the complexity of this program, but you will come away a believer. (Chipsoft, Inc., San Diego, Calif., $75.00)

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