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TurboTax and TaxCut make filing taxes easier in about the same ways.

Taken together, Intuit TurboTax and Kiplinger TaxCut account for more than 90% of the tax preparation software market. If you're hoping to make filing taxes a little bit easier this year, you'll probably choose one of them. The question is, which one?

I spent three hours trying to find a difference between the two. Both programs led me through a simple series of questions about my income. They organized my data and imported data from Quicken and other personal finance programs into a 1040, which can be printed or filed electronically. Both kept me updated on my refund throughout the process, warned of areas that might trigger an audit, and delivered tips — for example, tuition reimbursements from your employer may not be taxable.

Both came up with the exact same refund figure. In other words, TurboTax and TaxCut make filing taxes easier in about the same ways.

The differences? TurboTax allows you to compare your return with U.S. averages in your tax bracket (the average tax liability for those with gross income between $40,000 and $50,000 is $5,175) . TaxCut asks you a few questions up front, to drop irrelevant questions from your Q&A. This saved some time: I finished TaxCut in 49 minutes and TurboTax in 68 minutes.

Bottom Line: If you take comfort in market share, go with TurboTax: its got over 80% of the market. Personally, I'd opt for TaxCut's lower price. The whole point is to save money, isn't it?

Coordinates : Intuit TurboTax for Windows, $34.95; 800-446-8848, http://www.intuit.com/turbotax/ . Kiplinger TaxCut for Windows, $19.95; 800-235-4060, http://www.conductor.com/taxcut.html

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