Why would anybody use Turbotax?

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Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby Browser » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:37 pm

I've used HR Block (formerly TaxCut) for years and have been quite happy with it. I recall using TurboTax a while back and it was OK but nothing special. Since HR Block is always a lot cheaper than TurboTax, I'm just wondering why people use it and how they stay in business? Is there something magical that I don't know?
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby FrugalInvestor » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:44 pm

Some receive Turbo-tax Online access for free through Vanguard.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby bpp » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:45 pm

Because it runs on my system, whereas TaxAct doesn't.
(Haven't tried TaxCut.)
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby NYBoglehead » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:50 pm

I used to use Turbo Tax when I was single and my returns were less complicated. I think it was something like $19 to file federal and state (this ~4 years ago). Not sure how much H&R Block is/was, but I found Turbo Tax to be just fine.

What always drives me crazy in the HRB commercials is the "we'll get you the maximum return." I guess, "we'll make sure that your tax liability does not exceed what you are required by law to pay" doesn't sound as sexy.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby Cherokee8215 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:54 pm

Why? I've used it for many years, can fly through it pretty quickly, and it's cheap enough. I don't think I've ever paid more than $60 for federal (e-file) and state.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby investor » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:11 am

I had used HR Block Tax Cut the past few years then it would not run on my computer last year so I switched to Turbotax. This year neither program would run on my computer. So i did the logical thing and bought a new computer...it was time anyway.

Running turbo tax this year. Saving a bunch of $$$$ on pencils. Gives me more time to count my money :-)

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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby 3CT_Paddler » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:18 am

You might want to look at the numbers with the state filing. If I look at H&R's prices online, its $29.95 for the Homeowner's edition + $34.95 per state return for a total of $64.90. TurboTax is $39.99 (at Costco) + $19.99 for state eFiling (per state return) for a total of $59.98.

So maybe some of us should be asking, why would anyone (with a state return) use H&R Block? :)
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby sometimesinvestor » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:23 am

I have used taxcut but have the impresion that turbotax handles the case better where your foreign tax credit is large enough to require form 1116($300 single $600 joint)In particular taxcut requires you to fill out the form manually rather than just answering questions. This requires to understand the complicated form which at the minimum means reading the form instructions carefully

I do note that Taxcut deluk with one stae return is $44.95 but i guess its posible that if you have to file multiple state returns that turbo tax is less expensive
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby thebogledude » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:33 am

I first used Turbo Tax and I just stayed with it. I plan to stick with them as long as I'm filing. My question is why would anyone not use Turbotax?
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby grabiner » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:38 am

I tried TaxCut once and didn't like the setup; also, TurboTax imports data more easily from Quicken.

I used TaxACT for the last two years, but I had problems with NJ-specific issues that it couldn't handle (I couldn't get my HSA interest to be included properly on both my federal and NJ forms without overriding NJ, and then I couldn't file electronically in NJ), so I'm switching back to TurboTax for this year.

sometimesinvestor wrote:I have used taxcut but have the impresion that turbotax handles the case better where your foreign tax credit is large enough to require form 1116($300 single $600 joint)In particular taxcut requires you to fill out the form manually rather than just answering questions. This requires to understand the complicated form which at the minimum means reading the form instructions carefully


You need to do that anyway; TurboTax didn't get the form right when I tried it in previous years. (The error it made is that charitable deductions are considered to be deductions taken entirely against US income, while Turbotax prorated them against US and foreign. In theory, TurboTax could thus limit your foreign tax credit improperly.)

I haven't done my taxes yet, but I'll have a good test of the software for various issues. In particular, I sold an ETF at a loss after holding it for three months, and the ETF paid out a long-term capital gain. I know that an amount equal to the long-term gain must be reported as a long-term rather than a short-term loss, but even the IRS Form 8949 instructions don't say how to report that. I'll see whether TurboTax picks up on the situation at all (which it should be able to do from my Quicken records) or asks me about it.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby awval999 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:43 am

thebogledude wrote:I first used Turbo Tax and I just stayed with it. I plan to stick with them as long as I'm filing. My question is why would anyone not use Turbotax?


This.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby cheese_breath » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:49 am

I used Tax Cut for two years several years ago, but it didn't handle my Michigan property tax refund correctly on the state return. I had to manually override it. Switched to TurboTax which handled it fine and never considered switching back.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby Easy Rhino » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:28 am

I used both turbotax and taxcut and either would variously infuriate me for reasons I don't remember.

I started using TaxACT because it can be got to efile both fed and state very cheaply. I think it's like $15 if you "prereserve" a price. It also infuriates me occasionally but at least I save some money.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby lindab » Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:35 am

Until this year, I always used HR Block/TaxCut. I always found it to be easy to use and accurate for my needs, and over the years it became less expensive relative to TurboTax. In 2012 I sold some ESPP stock and discovered that not even the highest version handles the ordinary income reporting and calculation of the ordinary and capital gains. It assumes that the employer includes the ordinary income portion on the W-2. I can manually input it directly to the forms, but that defeats my reason for using tax software. TurboTax (Premium and Home&Business versions) ask the questions to correctly calculate the ordinary and capital portions of the gain. I'll try to remember to post an update after I've completed my return using TurboTax.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby epilnk » Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:26 am

I've been using Turbotax for what must be nearing 20 years, starting back when it was macintax. It's easy and familiar. Smooth reimports of prior year data. I've been audited twice and both times handled it easily without assistance. Since I have a program that works for me with minimal effort I cannot imagine why I might try to save a buck or two.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby SSSS » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:39 am

I do my return in TaxAct, TurboTax, and (sometimes) H&R Block to ensure they all match, but I only pay for TaxAct. You don't have to pay until you're ready to file, and TaxAct is by far the cheapest. Sometimes the other programs find things that TaxAct overlooked, in which case I can usually go back and figure out how to correct TaxAct.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby Tim_in_GA » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:05 am

I've used TurboxTax for over 10 years and have no reason to switch. It's just familiar to me and I can fly through it pretty quickly. We have a home business and it really makes that part of the taxes pretty easy.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby leonidas » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:06 am

Been using TT so long its become second nature to me. Also, I download my TT so I get federal and state plus efile for less than 30 bucks. You can't beat that.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby JW Nearly Retired » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:16 am

Been using H&R Block/TaxCut for 12 years. Used TurboTax before that but one year they tried some draconian limit on the number of family returns you could do and users fled in droves. TurboTax dropped that the next year but I never went back. TaxCut worked just as well for me.

I don't understand the reason but H&R Block + state + efile was sent to me free last year, and again this year (for $15), with some note about wanting to keep their good customers. That worries me a little. Doubtful if giving away your product free is a good long term business model.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby Trev H » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:35 am

I started using TubroTax many years ago (around 2004 ??? can't remember for sure), but have been happy with it and saw no need to change or try anything else.

You sort of get used to an app after using it that long and changing to something else even if you could save a few bucks... would not be worth it.

We do Federal only and I do taxes for myself, my sister, my cousin, my mother... and the Basic download version comes wtih 5 free efiles and cost 32.84.

It's all I need --- Satisfied !

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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby JW Nearly Retired » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:44 am

Browser wrote:I've used HR Block (formerly TaxCut) for years and have been quite happy with it. I recall using TurboTax a while back and it was OK but nothing special. Since HR Block is always a lot cheaper than TurboTax, I'm just wondering why people use it and how they stay in business? Is there something magical that I don't know?

IMO, the one-word name "TurboTax" is magical compared to the awkward "H&R Block at Home". HRB dropping the word "tax" from their product name seems a really dumb move to me.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby SpringMan » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:55 am

FrugalInvestor wrote:Some receive Turbo-tax Online access for free through Vanguard.

That is my reason except I don't use the Online version. Vanguard makes TurboTax Deluxe available as a download also. You download and install on your PC and work offline just like you bought the boxed CD. Of course, it still uses the internet to download updates and for e-file. I used to use and pay for TaxCut (H&R Block) software and liked it just fine. TurboTax imports last years TaxCut data and vice versa. My recollection is that prices between the two were competitive, around $50.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby Grasshopper » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:09 am

Ha, Ha, Ha, I have used TT since 1995. I have TT files on floppy's I had to buy a plug-in drive to open the floppy's, and than I needed the program to open the file which I still had, and than my latest and greatest laptop couldn't run them. That's OK I won't need 17 YO tax returns. I was glad when TT went to PDF files.

Why free from Vanguard, this kinda the Quicken question too. Why do I use Quicken cause once you get on the learning curve every 3rd year update is almost the same as 1995. :greedy
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby pshonore » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:10 am

Tax Cut was famous a few years back for not handling the K1 from Publicly Traded Partnerships (MLPs) correctly. Likewise for Tax Act. I thine thats been fixed but don't know for sure. Turbo Tax does it correctly.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby NAVigator » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:44 am

I used TurboTax for years and was always frustrated with it's poor interface. I then switched to Tax Cut and it was a big improvement for me and it was about half the price. Then HR Block bought the company and it has continued to be my software of choice. I refuse to pay that much for a simple state tax return, so I do it manually. My HR Block (Fed only) cost $15 this year. Yeah, I know that I could get TT for free from Vanguard, but I prefer HRB.

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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby bUU » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:53 am

The cost of TurboTax is so minimal and the software does such a good job that it isn't worth the bother of changing to something else. Better to spend my time learning more about how to manage my investments than switching to a new tax software solution.
Last edited by bUU on Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby sscritic » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:04 am

NAVigator wrote: I then switched to Tax Cut and it was a big improvement for me and it was about half the price. Then HR Block bought the company and it has continued to be my software of choice.

Do you know when that was? TaxCut was rebranded in 2010, but it was owned by H&R Block in 2005 or earlier (wikipedia reference, and I have my 2006 disc - H&R Block Tax Cut).
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby KyleAAA » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:12 am

I tried Taxcut one year and hated it. I've been using Turbotax ever since. It's cheap and it's good and, more importantly, it already has all my information stored from year to year so I don't have to re-enter the same information every time I do my taxes.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby NAVigator » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:39 am

sscritic wrote:
NAVigator wrote: I then switched to Tax Cut and it was a big improvement for me and it was about half the price. Then HR Block bought the company and it has continued to be my software of choice.

Do you know when that was? TaxCut was rebranded in 2010, but it was owned by H&R Block in 2005 or earlier (wikipedia reference, and I have my 2006 disc - H&R Block Tax Cut).

I had forgotten that the name change was done well after the acquisition. I guess I made the switch in 2008 based on the DVDs I have on the shelf. It appears that is about when I stopped updating Quicken made by the same company as TT. I have never let Quicken log into Vanguard and other accounts, so I will just continue to use my ancient version - Quicken for the abacus. :happy

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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby Toons » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:57 am

People become familiar with a product after using it for years ,become familiar
with the interface ,find it suits their needs,they don't even consider switching to
another brand :happy ,even if it does cost more
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby jonbois » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:00 am

Sometimeinvestor, I bought TurboTax premium a couple of years back and saw no improvement over the deluxe version when using foreign tax credit form regarding entering multiple countries, do you know if this is still the same or premium has addition capabilty?
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby Hexdump » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:03 am

investor wrote:I had used HR Block Tax Cut the past few years then it would not run on my computer last year so I switched to Turbotax. This year neither program would run on my computer. So i did the logical thing and bought a new computer...it was time anyway.

Running turbo tax this year. Saving a bunch of $$$$ on pencils. Gives me more time to count my money :-)

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This gave me quite a laugh.
Thanks !!
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby coop » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:04 am

I've used TurboTax for many years and had no problems. Until this year. After I purchased the download version, I discovered it will not run on my Mac. Seems that TurboTax made the decision with the 2012 version to make it inoperable with Macs made with PowerPC chips. TurboTax does not make this apparent on their website without clicking through to the system requirements. Since I've run it for six consecutive years on the same computer, I assumed this year would be no different. When I called to get my money back (a hassle), I got a lot of pressure from the rep to use the online version.

I see no reason to buy a new computer just to run TurboTax. Alas, the H&R Block product is the same way. So either I find some other tax software, or it is back to pencil and paper.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby Kevin21 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:14 am

Turbo Tax cost me and fiance near $200 for state and federal last year. I also don't like that they try to trick you into upgrading the service, and once you upgrade, there's no going back. They use very passive aggressive means to suck out more money. If they just charged a decent, straight forward price, I'd be sold.

I'll be filling out the turbo tax forms online again this year, but just to get an estimate for final return numbers. I'll then attempt to do the actual returns myself. We'll see how it goes, hopefully the numbers match up!
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby vshun » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:25 am

bpp wrote:Because it runs on my system, whereas TaxAct doesn't.
(Haven't tried TaxCut.)


I used taxactonline for years and as primary system at home is Linux and am very happy with the product and its price.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby mcblum » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:29 am

I save a few bucks by mailing my return, the old fashioned way. Not in a hurry to get money back.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby KyleAAA » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:34 am

coop wrote:I've used TurboTax for many years and had no problems. Until this year. After I purchased the download version, I discovered it will not run on my Mac. Seems that TurboTax made the decision with the 2012 version to make it inoperable with Macs made with PowerPC chips. TurboTax does not make this apparent on their website without clicking through to the system requirements. Since I've run it for six consecutive years on the same computer, I assumed this year would be no different. When I called to get my money back (a hassle), I got a lot of pressure from the rep to use the online version.

I see no reason to buy a new computer just to run TurboTax. Alas, the H&R Block product is the same way. So either I find some other tax software, or it is back to pencil and paper.


It wasn't Intuit that made this decision, it was Apple. Have you upgraded any part of your OS anytime in the last few years? I'd just use the online version. Apple is trying to squeeze Power PC users out of the market to force them to upgrade. You may be completely out of luck for pretty much everything you want to run soon.
Last edited by KyleAAA on Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby investor1 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:34 am

My taxes are not complicated, and my state offers free eFile. I use TT for my federal because it is simple and free. H&R Block is not cheaper than free. If they were, I would use them :)
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby vectorizer » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:37 am

  • Been using it since it ran on character mode DOS, so I'm used to it ... no learning curve each year.
  • Vanguard gives it to me for free.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby investor1 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:38 am

KyleAAA wrote:
coop wrote:I've used TurboTax for many years and had no problems. Until this year. After I purchased the download version, I discovered it will not run on my Mac. Seems that TurboTax made the decision with the 2012 version to make it inoperable with Macs made with PowerPC chips. TurboTax does not make this apparent on their website without clicking through to the system requirements. Since I've run it for six consecutive years on the same computer, I assumed this year would be no different. When I called to get my money back (a hassle), I got a lot of pressure from the rep to use the online version.

I see no reason to buy a new computer just to run TurboTax. Alas, the H&R Block product is the same way. So either I find some other tax software, or it is back to pencil and paper.


It wasn't Intuit that made this decision, it was Apple. Have you upgraded any part of your OS anytime in the last few years? I'd just use the online version. Apple is trying to squeeze Power PC users out of the market to force them to upgrade. You may be completely out of luck for pretty much everything you want to run soon.

No, TT decided not to support PPC. They decided enough of those users will be happy enough with the web app, and they were okay with losing the business of the others.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby thebogledude » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:42 pm

vectorizer wrote:Vanguard gives it to me for free.


Vanguard offers it for free if you're Flagship, otherwise they charge $49.99 (w. state).
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby WHL » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:48 pm

thebogledude wrote:I first used Turbo Tax and I just stayed with it. I plan to stick with them as long as I'm filing. My question is why would anyone not use Turbotax?


yep. I've used the free version of turbotax online for the last few years since I don't have to file a state return anymore. It's extremely simple and quick.

Why would I trust my return and personal information to some temporary desk jockey who read a few books about taxes?
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby sscritic » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:57 pm

investor1 wrote:
KyleAAA wrote:It wasn't Intuit that made this decision, it was Apple. Have you upgraded any part of your OS anytime in the last few years? I'd just use the online version. Apple is trying to squeeze Power PC users out of the market to force them to upgrade. You may be completely out of luck for pretty much everything you want to run soon.

No, TT decided not to support PPC. They decided enough of those users will be happy enough with the web app, and they were okay with losing the business of the others.

The latter. The newer versions of OS X don't run power pc apps. Earlier versions had rosetta for running power pc apps; that's why I never upgraded past 10.4.11 on my 2006 macbook. It still runs the powerpc version of Quicken. If the current version of TT doesn't run under rosetta, then that's on TT (Intuit), not on Apple. If TT isn't universal, that's because Intuit didn't make it universal.

A universal binary is, in Apple parlance, an executable file or application bundle that runs natively on either PowerPC or Intel-manufactured IA-32 or Intel 64-based Macintosh computers

The 2012 version of H&R Block At Home also will not install on my macbook. It wants OS X 10.5.8 or later. 10.5.8 runs on a power pc chip, so I don't know if At Home is universal or not.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby dpc » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:10 pm

Just a related question - will TaxCut or TaxAct import data from previous TurboTax returns? That's one of the main reasons I stick with TurboTax - less data entry and I'm familiar with it.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby sscritic » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:13 pm

dpc wrote:Just a related question - will TaxCut or TaxAct import data from previous TurboTax returns? That's one of the main reasons I stick with TurboTax - less data entry and I'm familiar with it.

Google is amazing. Type in TaxCut and it takes you to H&R Block. Who knew?
Easily imports your W-2, 1099 and last year's information from TurboTax® and H&R Block At Home™ software
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby HueyLD » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:26 pm

sscritic wrote:The latter. The newer versions of OS X don't run power pc apps. Earlier versions had rosetta for running power pc apps; that's why I never upgraded past 10.4.11 on my 2006 macbook. It still runs the powerpc version of Quicken. If the current version of TT doesn't run under rosetta, then that's on TT (Intuit), not on Apple. If TT isn't universal, that's because Intuit didn't make it universal.

The 2012 version of H&R Block At Home also will not install on my macbook. It wants OS X 10.5.8 or later. 10.5.8 runs on a power pc chip, so I don't know if At Home is universal or not.

Sorry I don't understand what you said. Can you install either TT or HRBAH on your Macbook?
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby Midpack » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:26 pm

I've been using TurboTax for over 10 years and it's always been useful, I remembers spending days doing my taxes manually years ago. I tried TaxAct and TaxCut both years ago, and found them far inferior, judging from the stats below I'm in the majority. I wonder how TaxAct and TaxCut stay in business? YMMV

Online DIY Tax Preparation Provider Share of Online Tax Units Filed* Season though April 18, 2012
Source: comScore Tax Benchmarker

Share of Online Tax Units Filed Season Through April 18, 2012
Intuit (TurboTax) 59.8%
InfoSpace (TaxACT) 17.7%
H&R Block (former TaxCut) 14.7%
Other 7.9%


Maybe the OP works for H&R Block...
Last edited by Midpack on Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:53 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby bertie wooster » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:27 pm

I use turbotax b/c it's free through Vanguard.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby sscritic » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:35 pm

HueyLD wrote:
sscritic wrote:The latter. The newer versions of OS X don't run power pc apps. Earlier versions had rosetta for running power pc apps; that's why I never upgraded past 10.4.11 on my 2006 macbook. It still runs the powerpc version of Quicken. If the current version of TT doesn't run under rosetta, then that's on TT (Intuit), not on Apple. If TT isn't universal, that's because Intuit didn't make it universal.

The 2012 version of H&R Block At Home also will not install on my macbook. It wants OS X 10.5.8 or later. 10.5.8 runs on a power pc chip, so I don't know if At Home is universal or not.

Sorry I don't understand what you said. Can you install either TT or HRBAH on your Macbook?

I don't have TT. I have a macbook (intel) with 10.4.11; HRBAH says it needs 10.5.8. I inserted the disc for a different reason,* and a message popped up saying it wouldn't install. I don't know if it would install on a power pc Mac running 10.5.8. I don't have a power pc mac, and I don't have a Mac with 10.5.8.

* The reason: my 2009 iMac couldn't read the disc. I put it into the macbook which did; then I used Disk Utility to make an image of the disk (the mac part). I then copied it to a thumb drive and took the thumb drive to my iMac. The image mounted, and I installed on my iMac from the thumb drive. I even bought a dvd/cd drive cleaning disc, but my iMac still won't read the HRBAH disc.
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Re: Why would anybody use Turbotax?

Postby Savvy » Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:03 pm

For someone that is not Flagship but IS a Vanguard client, is there a cheaper way to file with TurboTax Federal:Basic and TurboTax State:Basic than through Vanguard for $57?
https://personal.vanguard.com/us/insigh ... i/turbotax

There is a $39.99 download from Amazon but some reviews were negative because a $19.99 charge is needed at the end to pay for the State E-file.
http://www.amazon.com/TurboTax-Deluxe-F ... =turbo+tax
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