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Important Information about Ordering...

The information on this page applies to the 2024 Edition of Tax Preparer (for preparing and filing returns during 2024, for tax year 2023 returns). For information on the 2023 Edition of Tax Preparer, click here instead.

Release Schedule. The Tax Preparer software for Form 1040 returns is normally released in late-January, in coordination with the normal start of the tax season by the IRS. The software will then be available on-line to those who purchased the software for the new filing season. (Partnership 1065 software and California Form 540 software are subsequently released as soon as they are completed.)

On-screen documents. Manuals and IRS documents are supplied in PDF format for easy on-screen viewing and printing. (See the Order Form for list of on-screen documents included in each product.) To view these documents you must use Adobe Acrobat Reader, available free on the Internet at (search for Adobe Acrobat Reader on that website). All HowardSoft manuals take full advantage of two important Adobe Acrobat capabilities:

  •   Bookmarks. The Bookmark tab (or the F4 key) gives you a clickable Table of Contents in the left pane of a split screen.
  •   Search. The ctrl-F key gives you the ability to search and find any word or phrase like an index.

In addition, all on-screen documents are printable in whole or in part if you want a hard copy.

Graphic printing. Graphic printing of all supported forms is included in all Standard Level and Premium Level updates. Graphic printing requires only a Windows-compatible printer capable of printing a 7.5 by 10-inch image on an 8.5 by 11-inch page. Note that the Standard Level supports the traditional set of forms that HowardSoft has included for years plus a few others, but the Premium Level contains twice as many forms. See the separate Comparison Chart for details. (When using Tax Preparer under 32-bit Windows, an option for HP laser printing is also included for those who have a laser printer that supports HP's PCL printing language, is connected to an LPT port, and supports compatible tax fonts. This option may be advantageous for those who experience slow Windows printing because of limited memory or low processing speed. This option is not available when using Tax Preparer under 64-bit Windows because of Microsoft's elimination of support for this older technology in all of their 64-bit versions of Windows.)

Professional e-file. e-file transmission software is available for use with Standard Level and Premium Level software for federal Form 1040 returns. It provides you with the capability to transmit most returns prepared by Tax Preparer for a nominal per return transmission fee.

Mandatory e-file for paid preparers: Mandatory e-file for paid preparers was signed into law late in 2009, but the IRS phased in the new law over a 2-year period. The law is now in full force. Any paid preparer who expects to file more than 10 returns in a tax season is required to e-file them all (with rare exceptions) during that tax season. See our home page for more details.

To use professional e-file you must:

  •   Meet hardware requirements. You must have Internet access and a hard disk with at least 75 MB of free space. We also recommend at least 1 GB of free computer memory for 64-bit computers.
  •   Get an EFIN from the IRS. Thatís the IRS Electronic Filing Identification Number. If you already have one, youíre already set; you donít need to get a new one each year. Otherwise you must apply on-line to the IRS at the IRS website for e-file applications.
  •   Get (or renew) a new PTIN from the IRS. Now mandatory for ALL paid preparers, you must have registered with the IRS for each tax season that you are required to e-file by applying for (or renewing) a PTIN in October through December of the preceding year. The requirement applies to everyone, including CPAs, attorneys, and enrolled agents. You can register at the IRS's main website: The fee for registration is roughly $65 each year.
  •   Purchase e-file transmission software for the tax year. Transmission software must be purchased anew each year you want to e-file returns. The purchase price depends on the level of software you choose (Basic, Silver, Gold, or Platinum) and is $115, $299, $534, and $999, respectively, for the 2024 filing season. The per return transmission fee also varies with level ($5.60, $4.50, $3.40, or ZERO, respectively, for the 2024 filing season), and the amount of transmission charges pre-paid for you (ZERO, $165, $340, or all, for the 2024 filing season).

Also see our Comparison Chart for more detail on the differences among the three levels of software we offer.