If you must do your income taxes, TurboTax makes it as much fun as possible.
I have been using TurboTax to prepare my Federal and State Income Taxes for about 5 years. It was good to start with, and gets better every year.
There are four primary TurboTax Products: Basic, Deluxe, Premier, and Home and Business.
The Deluxe version seems to meet all of the core needs of an employee who has some investment activity on the side. It makes the preparation of Schedule (Capital Gains and Losses) very easy.
All of the versions of TurboTax are interview driven and contain extensive integrated Help Documentation, some of it in the form of videos which make the process more interactive and fun.
There are a number of benefits to using TurboTax each year: It brings forward fixed information such as names and social security number (and allows you to edit the data), it automatically captures capital loss carry overs from the previous year, and it allows year-to-year comparsion reporting to help spot potential errors.
Although you could download the software to get it fast, I always get it on CD so I can reinstall that year's version it later (if I get audited). I also export all of the completed schedules and forms, using the PDF output function, and store this and the data file off site (for at least 4 years).
There are a number of tools in TurboTax which help you review your return for reasonableness. Intuit guarantees the accuracy of calculations within the software.
E-Filing is great! You save paper and postage, you get electronic confirmation, and you get refunds faster.
For the 2008 Tax Year, Turbo Tax Deluxe is about $29.95 for Federal and includes free E-Filing. The software for the state is about $22 (and there may be a TurboTax state E-Filing fee).
Although it may be possible to do simple tax returns manually, TurboTax speeds up the process, eliminates clerical errors, and enables E-Filing.