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Tax software
Old 02-24-2008, 05:54 PM   #1
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Tax software

What packages do you use, and why, orr why not?

We've bought a Turbo Tax Premier (online), and will use it in a test, to see how well its output compares with our accountant-prepared return.

BTW, we keep GOOD records.

If within $100, we may need to re-think our tax return strategy for the 2008 return.
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Old 02-24-2008, 05:56 PM   #2
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I've always liked TaxAct. It's free, but I buy the "upgrade" because I like the way it imports all the data from last year's return, which saves a lot of typing.
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Old 02-24-2008, 06:41 PM   #3
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I have only ever used TurboTax Delux-CD version. I don't really like it too well because they change it every year and I feel somewhat 'isolated' from the process. It is easy, tho. Based on comments from this forum, may try TaxAct next yr.

Last time I used a CPA, he was horrible....I found errors which he corrected, but the following year he made the same errors, so it was back to TT after that. IMO, you need someone that specializes in taxes, not just a CPA that does audits or whatever 10 months of the year. My situation is not complicated, so its tough for them to provide value.
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Old 02-24-2008, 07:12 PM   #4
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This year was the first time I ever used any software to do income taxes and I used TaxAct because it was free and I just wanted to see how it worked. It worked, although my return was fairly simple. It picked up on the fact I had a 401K to IRA rollover and even added the word "rollover" in the proper place on the retirement income line. It wasn't visible on the screen but came out on the printed version.

In the end I don't think it saved any time because of all the W2 and 1099 info I had to input but I learned a lot. I didn't do the electronic filing cause I owed them some money so just printed everything out and mailed it in. I mailed it on a Sunday and Uncle Sam cashed my check on Thursday and it cleared the bank on Friday.

I didn't do the state version because you have to pay for that version and besides Ohio has this really neat system online called I-FILE. You just logon to the state income tax site and do your taxes right there. You can save your stuff online and then submit it when you're finished. The state tax took less than an hour total and I got my refund back in 8 days.
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Old 02-24-2008, 08:21 PM   #5
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In the end I don't think it saved any time because of all the W2 and 1099 info I had to input but I learned a lot.
If TaxAct works like TurboTax, next year it will pull up most of the background info from this years returns such as name/address/filing status. It also asks if you still have "W-2 from xyz company" and "1099 from Acme Investments", etc. so you will mostly just have to put the current figures in. If I switch to TaxAct next year, I am hoping it will still extract the background data from this years TT file. I also usually save my returns in .pdf files.
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Old 02-25-2008, 06:25 AM   #6
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I didn't do the electronic filing cause I owed them some money so just printed everything out and mailed it in.
There was no need to pay this early. When you electronicly file you are given the option to mail the check any time up to April 15th. (If you wait that late I would suggest a "Certificate of Mailing" however) Additionally. with TaxAct, eFile is free (for the first submittal) so you could have even saved the cost of the stamp (and envelope?) -- which is no small amount any more.

(Well, I guess that last part didn't make any sense... you would, of course, need a stamp and envelope for the check. I need more coffee.)

In any event: "A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow."
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Old 02-25-2008, 06:43 AM   #7
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TAX ACT Free including FREE federal e-filing.
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Old 02-25-2008, 08:03 AM   #8
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There was no need to pay this early. When you electronicly file you are given the option to mail the check any time up to April 15th. (If you wait that late I would suggest a "Certificate of Mailing" however) Additionally. with TaxAct, eFile is free (for the first submittal) so you could have even saved the cost of the stamp (and envelope?) -- which is no small amount any more.

(Well, I guess that last part didn't make any sense... you would, of course, need a stamp and envelope for the check. I need more coffee.)

In any event: "A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow."
The way I look at it, I owe them money once a year and I can only get ahead of the game one time. If I waited till April 15 to send the check I would have gained 2 months interest but next year I would be back on the once a year schedule.

I mailed it cause, I had to mail the check and it keeps the mailman employed, you know, the nice guys that bring the new toy catalogs each month.
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Old 02-25-2008, 08:41 AM   #9
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but next year I would be back on the once a year schedule.
But still two months later than before. Unless I am missing something.

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it keeps the mailman employed, you know, the nice guys that bring the new toy catalogs each month.
Ah, yes. There is that. I do suspect, however, that those (the junk catalogs) would find some way to bring joy and happiness no matter what direction the USPS takes.
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Old 02-25-2008, 08:56 AM   #10
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But still two months later than before. Unless I am missing something.



Ah, yes. There is that. I do suspect, however, that those (the junk catalogs) would find some way to bring joy and happiness no matter what direction the USPS takes.
I'm just one of those people that likes to keep their plates clean and outstanding debts just bug me to no end. With the taxes all paid I can go play in the shop until........Oh crap, estimated taxes are due April 15th....

Maybe it all stems from my Dad, he was one to always get all the work done before you got to play.........Actually I think it was his technique to wear us kids out so we were too tired to play.
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Old 02-25-2008, 09:21 AM   #11
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We've bought a Turbo Tax Premier (online), and will use it in a test,
I've used TurboTax for probably 5 years. It is easier to use in follow-on years because it "remembers" the previous year's return. One thing I have learned is that thought each year the software attempts to upgrade me to Deluxe or Premier (usually with some claim that I'm going to need it) I am perfectly fine with Basic. (Basic is only $19.) Would like to hear back on how the results compared to your accountant.

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Old 02-25-2008, 10:27 AM   #12
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We've used TurboTax for the last 8-9 years. It has worked out greatly.
They do seem to change it's appearance, however since we have a pretty simple return, it's pretty self-explanatory.
This year we did go to a CPA to have him validate our information, and although it cost us about $450 for him to do the checkup for us, along with some valuable information regarding additional properties we acquire, we feel comfortable keeping with TurboTax. Plus it actually gives you a report of the last 5 years of comparison.
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:58 AM   #13
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8 returns this year on paper with a black pen and an HP-12C calculator to double check the arithmetic. Maybe $8 total for the cost of stamps, envelopes, paper, ink, and 7 checks. (I got a federal refund, the other 7 had balances owing.)

If it doesn't hurt you're spending too much ;-).

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Old 02-25-2008, 11:02 AM   #14
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it cost us about $450 for him to do the checkup for us, along with some valuable information regarding additional properties we acquire, we feel comfortable keeping with TurboTax. Plus it actually gives you a report of the last 5 years of comparison.
Well, then. The questions are: What did the $450 get you that you remain "comfortable" with TurboTax? Did he make major changes to what TT had calculated? Or was his fee offset by the "valuable information regarding additional properties" he provided rather than improvements to TT's performance?

Wouldn't your tax guy provide historical data?
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:05 AM   #15
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We use TurboTax and have for the last two years. I'm very happy with it.
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:08 AM   #16
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I just ran a free TurboTax and it didn't ask anything about HSA contributions. Is this an oversight?
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:20 AM   #17
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Yes, I know that they have that option. Did you go through the sequence of medical questions?
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:22 AM   #18
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Well, then. The questions are: What did the $450 get you that you remain "comfortable" with TurboTax? Did he make major changes to what TT had calculated? Or was his fee offset by the "valuable information regarding additional properties" he provided rather than improvements to TT's performance?

Wouldn't your tax guy provide historical data?
His figures came in-line with what TT had calculated (his was about $35 less).
His fee was offset by the "valuable information regarding additional properties, not to mention a few other tidbits that I wasn't 100% sure was accurate". And he is a former IRS auditor (he switched to CPA work ... all the valid credentials ... 4-5 years ago).
The truth is that everything I spoke to him about, I couldn't find specific references on the IRS' website, that made everything perfectly clear. He was able to point to specific references on the IRS' site, after telling me the answer I was seeking.
He does provide historical data as well. Heck, at my request he even emailed me a PDF of all the necessary forms and said I was his first client to ever ask for it. I hate to have paperwork hanging around longer than it needs to be (it's the geek in me wanting to go paperless).
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:34 AM   #19
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Yes, I know that they have that option. Did you go through the sequence of medical questions?
I thought I did.

I'll go through it again.
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:44 AM   #20
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I just ran a free TurboTax and it didn't ask anything about HSA contributions. Is this an oversight?
We purchased TT and Im pretty sure it asks about HSA contributions.
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