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TurboTax: Any Difference Between Physical CD & Download ?
Old 12-27-2018, 07:00 PM   #1
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TurboTax: Any Difference Between Physical CD & Download ?

My 2008 iMac finally passed on. Bought a new one, but they no longer include a cd/dvd drive. I've used TurboTax since 1999, & I've always bought the actual CD. All were purchased on eBay, where I found them cheaper than my local Best Buy, Walmart, etc.

I'm guessing that now, unless I want to purchase an external CD drive, I'll have to download directly from intuit ?
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Old 12-27-2018, 07:20 PM   #2
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Once you have the program installed to your computer, either by CD or internet download, once you start doing the actual program on your computer it will update the software program installed on your computer. So net effect is either way works, and same end result.
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Old 12-27-2018, 07:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by 38Chevy454 View Post
Once you have the program installed to your computer, either by CD or internet download, once you start doing the actual program on your computer it will update the software program installed on your computer. So net effect is either way works, and same end result.

Right. After reading this, I thought ďwhat software have I purchased, currently use, and was delivered in a physical box?Ē. There was only one and the box only had a card with a license key for activation.
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Old 12-27-2018, 07:37 PM   #4
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You can also buy TT from Amazon, and download it directly or you can just use Intuit's website. I typically just try to find the cheapest offering. Haven't used a CD version probably for 4 or 5 years.
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Old 12-28-2018, 05:25 AM   #5
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I believe that if you need Schedule D, youíll pay more for the online version. There was quite a controversy a few years ago. I start online and pick up the CD when it gets closer to April.
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Old 12-28-2018, 07:01 AM   #6
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Might want to compare from Intuit:

Online version: https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/online/

Download version: https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/cd-download/

I've only used the CD version. I'm not ready to give up my DVD/CD drive on desktop or laptop.

Plus, I have an old usb powered external DVD burner around too. Very handy to have when needed .
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Old 12-29-2018, 04:07 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
Might want to compare from Intuit:

Online version: https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/online/

Download version: https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/cd-download/

I've only used the CD version. I'm not ready to give up my DVD/CD drive on desktop or laptop.

Plus, I have an old usb powered external DVD burner around too. Very handy to have when needed .
Thanks for this!
Looks like it would be @ least $70.00 + tax for TT-Deluxe download.
Get the CD for a little over 1/2 that on eBay.

Besides, I still like to burn music CDs for myself family/friends. I think I'll just buy a external burner/player like you, & continue to use the CD version.

Thanks to all who replied.
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Old 12-29-2018, 04:40 PM   #8
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I’m sure some day it won’t be an option, but I like having the CD. With something as important as my taxes, I’ve always felt safer having the disk in case I ever needed to reload it. Though, I’ve never had to do that. Not sure how you would prove ownership if you had to reload a downloaded version or for how many years they would provide that service/level of support. I’m sure there’s some way, possibly by making sure you register the product each year.
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TurboTax: Any Difference Between Physical CD & Download ?
Old 12-29-2018, 05:13 PM   #9
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TurboTax: Any Difference Between Physical CD & Download ?

Iíve never tried this, but downloaded versions of software end up in a particular folder. Iím prompted to approve installation but the downloaded image is still there.

It seems to me one could write a copy of that image to CD if extra safety is wanted and Internet access isnít a given.

User-specific data is typically placed in a file separate from the program itself. Thatís what you really donít want to lose.
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Old 12-29-2018, 10:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by steelyman View Post
Iíve never tried this, but downloaded versions of software end up in a particular folder. Iím prompted to approve installation but the downloaded image is still there.

It seems to me one could write a copy of that image to CD if extra safety is wanted and Internet access isnít a given.

User-specific data is typically placed in a file separate from the program itself. Thatís what you really donít want to lose.
Right , so what I do is burn the downloaded file to a CD, and burn a text file with my purchase information in it, including the code key they might give you.

Then everything is in one spot.
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Old 12-30-2018, 06:15 AM   #11
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Burning it to a CD might be overkill. I just copy the downloaded installer file to a thumb drive. I can use that to reinstall the software whenever I need to.
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Old 12-30-2018, 06:25 AM   #12
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Both CD and download versions still require registration in order to file a tax return. This means creating an account with Intuit / TurboTax and registering the license. This should also be the record or proof needed down the road if something happens.

We really only need to keep this for 3 years, which is the IRS time limit for most (minor) matters.
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Old 12-30-2018, 06:32 AM   #13
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We really only need to keep this for 3 years, which is the IRS time limit for most (minor) matters.
I think tax records need to be kept for four -- the current tax year plus the three prior ones.

I've always kept them for at least five.
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Old 12-30-2018, 06:37 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
Both CD and download versions still require registration in order to file a tax return. This means creating an account with Intuit / TurboTax and registering the license. This should also be the record or proof needed down the road if something happens.

We really only need to keep this for 3 years, which is the IRS time limit for most (minor) matters.
I access the PDF record of prior year taxes, several times a year, at least. But rarely have gone back more than 3 years for anything.
As you say, your TT account is what gets the software working.
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Old 12-30-2018, 06:45 AM   #15
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I think tax records need to be kept for four -- the current tax year plus the three prior ones.

I've always kept them for at least five.
Thatís what I meant, but not what I wrote. Filing date plus 3 years.
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Old 12-30-2018, 06:52 AM   #16
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I have had to download a duplicate in the past. My computer died when I was in the middle of doing my taxes about 6 years ago, and I was traveling.

Amazon keeps copies of everything you have downloaded including music, books and software. At the time they sent an email receipt with your activation key.

I was able to start over on another laptop and get my taxes done with a day to spare.
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Old 12-30-2018, 07:31 AM   #17
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Accessing the records is the easy part. I keep both a pdf and hardcopy of the records. I've got pdfs going back to 2002, and hard copies back to 1994. I know I don't need to keep that far back, but I find it interesting, and it doesn't take much room. For the older years I've shredded much of the supporting docs, and just kept the return itself and the year end statements from my investment account. I'm actually a little disappointed I don't have all of my old returns.

The issue to me is if you have to file an amended return from a past year. That's when you need to fire up the program. I don't uninstall the tax program because chances are I'll replace the laptop by the time the 3 years to file amended is gone. I don't think I've had to reinstall an old TT on a new laptop yet, but I'm confident I could from the download file. Some years I have the disc, some not.
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Old 12-30-2018, 07:34 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Lagniappe View Post
Amazon keeps copies of everything you have downloaded including music, books and software. At the time they sent an email receipt with your activation key.

Not relevant to TurboTax, but the ability to download prior music purchases is really handy and saves the trouble of ripping CDs to your computer. They are delivered/downloaded in a form that can be imported to your music library (in my case, iTunes for Mac) with one click, all information (titles, artwork, etc) preserved.

For example, I have a 9-CD Stax/Volt collection that was downloaded/imported in just a few minutes. Itís a welcome timesaver. They donít go back ďforeverĒ though, only purchases after some date, maybe early 2000s?
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Old 12-30-2018, 08:30 AM   #19
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I reinstalled Windows 7 on my desktop a few years ago. Shortly after, I needed to access my return from two years prior using TurboTax. I went to the Intuit website, logged in, and easily downloaded the program for the year I needed.

I just logged in to check again. Every year that I've bought the download version is still there, available for download. In my case, this is 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. For several years prior to that, I was using a Big-Four accounting firm due to a tax equalization agreement with Megacorp.

I have no use for CDs and DVDs, other than as coasters. I haven't listened to a CD or watched a DVD in years. Can't remember the last time I bought one. Last time I put a CD in my PC was when I reinstalled Windows 7 a few years ago. I had to blow the dust out of it first. I do remember saving all my TT CDs back in the day (late 90s and early 2000s). I've moved on.
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Old 12-30-2018, 09:10 AM   #20
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I save the PDF files. In the envelope I keep all the 1099's, receipts, etc. I have a printout of the 1040 form, and schedules A,B, and D.
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