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Mid-March is a good time of the year. The days are getting longer, warm weather is on the way, and once again you’re getting nightly reports on Chuck Knoblauch’s wobbly throws to first. But you’re stressed. It’s tax time and you haven’t done a friggin’ thing. Random receipts sit there on your desk, collecting dust. And your head swims with questions. Is your cat a dependent? And why do they send out W-2s in January, anyway? OK, relax. Take a deep breath. Then turn on your computer. Resist the ESPN and J. Crew sites and head straight to www.1040.com. It’s as simple and helpful a Web site as you’re ever going to find on just about anything, let alone a topic so mind-numbingly complicated as filing personal income tax returns. The site has just about everything you need to do-it-yourselfing your taxes, including short overviews of allowable standard deductions, itemized deductions, and exemptions. There are also blurbs on capital gains, gift tax, and retirement pension plans. Federal and state forms are only a click away (in convenient PDF format, of course). The site has also collected news stories on recent changes at the IRS and updates on filing instructions. The origin of the site is sort of obscure. The lone clue is a tag at the top of the home page which reads: “A Service of Drake Software.” But don’t let this mystery deter you from milking the site for all it’s worth. There are no sneaky links to annoying banner ads or plugs for cookie-cutter tax software. But best of all, the site takes a page out of Google.com‘s book: It is quick, well-organized, and surprisingly clutter-free. You can sail through the site in about 20 gleeful minutes. Before you know it, you’ll have your return filed. And you’ll have saved all that unused anxiety for a superior rite of Spring: March Madness.

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