What tax software do you use and why

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kazper
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What tax software do you use and why

Post by kazper » Sat Oct 18, 2014 5:49 am

During my first few years I used an accountant. After looking through the final results, i realized my return is fairly easy and could not justify the 250+ cost. :oops:

I started out using turbo tax but didn't like the price structure, especially when I lived in two states and had to pay a premium to file both.

A few years later I switched to taxslayer. It was considerably lower than the tax act and turbotax estimates. I went with it one year but questioned the difference and felt like their calculations might be incorrect leading to an audit. The main difference seemed to be where they deducted things, which altered the entire return.

The following year I moved over to taxact and have used it since. My experience with them has been great. I have emailed support with a few questions and always receive sound guidance. This year might be a little more complicated as I sold some stocks. I guess we'll see!

What do you use and why? Do you ever run the free versions of others to double check?

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climber2020
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by climber2020 » Sat Oct 18, 2014 5:58 am

I used Turbotax for years until last year when they started dropping necessary features from the free edition. Used TaxAct last year and found it easy to use. I've also used H&R Block to do a relative's taxes, but am not a big fan of the interface.

nordlead
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by nordlead » Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:34 am

Taxact. I find it hard to beat paying $12.99 for a federal and state return where they import all of the repeated information from the prior year reducing the amount of work I have to do and errors I might make. I'm sure I could do it for free (by hand or whatever), but it is worth it.

No, I never run the free version of other software as I don't feel like it is worth my time (I paid to save all that time entering mundane information). I think reading over the paper version (PDF really), before submitting allows me to catch anything I may have missed or entered improperly.

EDIT: price, whatever, it is the discount price for signing up in the fall instead of during tax season.
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Toons
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by Toons » Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:35 am

TaxAct for years now.Deluxe Online
Why?
Handles any tax situation.
Price is still excellent,although it has been trending up the last few years :happy

https://www.taxact.com/support/527/whic ... archValue=
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dodecahedron
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by dodecahedron » Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:17 am

TurboTax Deluxe because

1) I have used it for years, am familiar with its quirks, it works well and saves me time

2) Super easy to get it to download all the securities transactions from Vanguard and Schwab and it automatically put everything in the right places.

3) as a Flagship member, it was free

4) actually the cost to me was actually *less* than zero :D because I took advantage of their offer to give me a 10% bonus on my tax refund if I took in Amazon gift card form. (I don't normally have big refunds but because of unexpected life changes in 2013, I wound up with a $2,500 refund.)

Bottom line: TurboTax/Amazon paid me $250 to use TurboTax last year, it handled everything well, and made the process relatively easy. Like other posters above, I also print it out and look over the printed version very carefully before efiling.

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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by jebmke » Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:30 am

Taxwise Online. As TaxAide volunteer I have free use. Access to all states, free efile. Very easy to use in forms mode instead of interviews.
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Blues
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by Blues » Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:40 am

First year or two with TurboTax. TaxAct (desktop) for about the last ten years. This year I'm going to give the online version of TaxAct a go for the first time (and save myself a Bogleheadish ten bucks in doing so). I've found TaxAct to be very intuitive to use for both my federal and state returns.
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livesoft
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by livesoft » Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:11 am

kazper wrote:[…] This year might be a little more complicated as I sold some stocks. I guess we'll see!

What do you use and why? Do you ever run the free versions of others to double check?


Reporting stock sales has never been complicated if you have good records. It is rather trivial in fact, so that is not reason to worry nor to pay more for a tax return.

I use TurboTax because someone gave me the software as a gift years ago and it makes an easy gift going forward. I do not run free versions of others to double check. We did our tax returns by hand for many years. I am not embarassed to write that I have done a few tax returns before pocket calculators (and personal computers) were invented.
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dodecahedron
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by dodecahedron » Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:19 am

livesoft wrote:
kazper wrote:[…] This year might be a little more complicated as I sold some stocks. I guess we'll see!

What do you use and why? Do you ever run the free versions of others to double check?


Reporting stock sales has never been complicated if you have good records. It is rather trivial in fact, so that is not reason to worry nor to pay more for a tax return.

I use TurboTax because someone gave me the software as a gift years ago and it makes an easy gift going forward. I do not run free versions of others to double check. We did our tax returns by hand for many years. I am not embarassed to write that I have done a few tax returns before pocket calculators (and personal computers) were invented.


Like livesoft, I did my tax returns by hand for years. (Actually, in the early years of our marriage and partnership before the advent of tax software, I did our taxes by hand but my husband insisted that we hire a typist to neatly type my calculated numbers into the forms, because our taxes were fairly complicated and he thought they would appear more professional if typed. :happy However, I later discovered that the tax professionals who prepared Richard Nixon's and FDR's returns actually filled them out longhand, so maybe typing wasn't really necessary to impress the IRS with professional appearance of our tax returns. http://www.taxhistory.org/www/website.n ... TaxReturns)

However, despite the fact that we did have good records, reporting stock sales by hand was far from trivial if there were DRIP purchases, stock splits, and other assorted things going on over many years. It all required a lot of transcription and proofreading, and I moaned and groaned. As a result, my husband started doing those kinds of transactions mostly within tax-advantaged accounts, in order to save me time and trouble when doing our taxes. It may not have been the most tax efficient choice, but he thought a happy wife was worth it. :D

By contrast, it is a total dream just to tell TurboTax to download all the tax info from Vanguard, Fidelity, and Schwab. (Correction: apparently I didn't download anything from Fidelity. Thanks to livesoft for helping jog my memory on this.) With just a few keystrokes, I had all my securities transactions, interest (taxable and tax-exempt), and dividends (qualified and otherwise) magically appearing in exactly the right boxes on the correct forms.
Last edited by dodecahedron on Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:55 am, edited 2 times in total.

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cheese_breath
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:25 am

I use TT. I used Tax Cut for a couple years, but it didn't handle my property tax refund correctly and I had to manually override it every year. So I switched. Each program has it's own learning curve, and I'm just too lazy to learn another one when TT does the job. Admittedly that's a pretty lame reason, but I'm willing to spend a few extra bucks on TT to avoid having to learn another.
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livesoft
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by livesoft » Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:28 am

@dodecahedron, I was not able to download from Fidelity all the numbers needed for my tax return because Fidelity did not bother to create a 1099INT and 1099DIV for accounts with low values for interest and dividends. Fidelity did not even create nor send out a 1099INT nor a 1099DIV for this income that needed to be reported.
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by Saving$ » Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:37 am

TaxAct, downloadable version, for about 10+ years now, because:

1. I used TurboTax the first year I went from doing taxes by hand to using a program. That was the same year Turbo Tax, without permission, downloaded software to a hidden part of your drive, that somehow stayed there even if you reformatted your hard drive. The without permission part galled me, and I decided they lost me as a customer forever. I also found the interface confusing - the questions were poorly worded and I missed an entire section and had to go looking for where to enter the data. But I knew what was supposed to be on the form, so I knew I missed it - what about others who are not as familiar with taxes?
2. I looked for an alternative, and a friend recommended TaxAct because they were so responsive and nice to her when she asked a question. I have experienced similar good customer service, which I describe as receiving a response. The content of the response is sometimes obtuse, but I don't think I would get a response from the competitors.
3. After having done my own taxes by hand for years, I like how TaxAct lets me see the actual tax form it is filling out while I am doing it.
4. The questions are clear and straight forward - the product works well.
5. Tax Act pricing is fair (I would no longer call it a bargain) and there is no silly refund scheme associated with it, and they have not tried any Turbo Tax type antics, so they have not given me a reason to go looking for an alternative.
6. I have various tax situations on various years, and thankfully TaxAct does not have any silly upsell scheme - I spend about $20/year for federal and state deluxe downloadable version, and that version handles everything need (except issuing 1099's). If they ever start having that in program upsell scheme, they will lose me.

As far as I know, it does not download from financial institutions, but I prefer to enter that info by hand anyway.

I'm happy with it and strongly recommend it to others.

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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by PatrickA5 » Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:46 am

I've used Turbo Tax for many years. This year I'm getting the Premier version since I have a rental, but I imagine that it's not really necessary. I use my Turbo Tax dozens of times a year running estimates for the next year. By June, I usually have a very good idea of what next years results are going to be. I also use Turbo Tax to run "what ifs" for things like Roth conversions, effect of LTCGs and qualified dividends, stock options, etc.

I've never used any other tax software, but I would think any of them would be good.

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dodecahedron
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by dodecahedron » Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:48 am

livesoft wrote:@dodecahedron, I was not able to download from Fidelity all the numbers needed for my tax return because Fidelity did not bother to create a 1099INT and 1099DIV for accounts with low values for interest and dividends. Fidelity did not even create nor send out a 1099INT nor a 1099DIV for this income that needed to be reported.


Interesting. Thanks for jogging my memory, livesoft. Actually, come to think of it, our Fidelity taxable account had very little activity in 2013 (just donated some appreciated securities, which I entered manually into the relevant section of the Schedule A worksheet) and a tiny amount of interest on the sweep MMF (which I must have gotten from the year end statement), so I probably entered those by hand. Most of our transactions were in Vanguard and there were a few with Schwab.

As for missing 1099-INT and 1099-DIV from Fidelity, I know that payers are not required to report amounts less than $10 on 1099-INTs and such, even though *we* taxpayers are required to report it on our 1040s, so I have gotten used to checking year-end statements for such payments, whether or not they are on 1099s.

Anyway, I have now consolidated everything that was in taxable accounts at Fidelity, Schwab, Scott Trade, and Interactive Brokers into Vanguard :D so shortcomings with Fidelity are not going to be an issue for me going forward.

I *know* that Vanguard info downloaded completely and smooth as silk because that was where the lion's share of 2013 transactions happened. Yet another reason to be happy about my decision to consolidate taxable accounts at Vanguard. :D

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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by RandomPointer » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:01 am

Like Saving$, I stopped using Turbo Tax when they installed their activation software without permission.

I looked around and at that time (2003), Tax Cut was available. I have been using it until today, it changed into HR Block several years ago.

My tax situation changes quite a lot. I don't think I ever had three consecutive years where my tax situation stay the same. Always something new and new things to learn. For that, I appreciate the interview style that HR Block/Turbo Tax has. I am wondering if Tax Act is as user friendly as Turbo Tax / HR Block?

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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by bpp » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:02 am

For US taxes, I currently use TurboTax, because TaxAct stopped working with the Japanese operating system on my computer.

For Japanese taxes, I use the free online program provided by the National Tax Agency.

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runner26
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by runner26 » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:06 am

For years I used Tax Act because it was cheap and did the job. When I reached Vanguard Flagship level, I switched to TurboTax because it was free. Both work. I found Tax Act staff more responsive to questions and a bit easier to use. If I still had to pay, I would purchase Tax Act.

stan1
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by stan1 » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:08 am

They all work. Most important thing for the user is to review what's in the return and validate the data entry rather than assuming it has been auto-downloaded properly. Math errors are unlikely -- missing data can easily happen. This is especially true if you skip around through the interview process rather than doing it all at once using the workflow that the software package's designers intended (which I'm very guilty of doing).

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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by LeeMKE » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:19 am

I've been using Taxcut/HRBlock for a few years, previously used Turbotax.

Once our situation gets more routine, I'd like to try out TaxAct, based on comments here. Right now the previous year download saves me too much grief to consider moving.
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by LongerPrimer » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:22 am

TaxAct and its original before it became TurboTax. It was and is cheap to to me, revolutionized the personal tax prep business. Today, your choice is really a matter of interface preference. I once looked at a bunch of tax prep software and soon realized the exercise was like the word processing wars. :annoyed

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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by cfs » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:28 am

On this side of the keyboard, using Turbo Tax.

Did my taxes many years ago using paper and pencil to made corrections easy, then passed the information to another form using a pen--but that was then and this is now. I have used Turbo Tax for many years, it is easy to move the information from year to year. Not planning to go back to the paper and pencil in the near future.
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by placeholder » Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:42 am

I have used Taxcut/HR Block for many years and last year they sent out free Deluxe + state so I would have had free efile for fed and state other than this happening:
http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=137740

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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by Sheepdog » Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:48 am

I used TaxSlayer.com the last 3 years for myself and helping others file theirs. Simple questions to answer so the completion is simple. Plus it is cheap or no cost at all for those with lower AGI.
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by midareff » Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:53 am

I use Turbo Tax at the beginning of the year to prepare an estimate for quarterly EFTPS payments. I monitor how things progress through the year for any significant changes and make any adjustments necessary to quarter 3 or 4's payments. After I have all the necessary year end reports and documents I have a friend who prepares using Turbo at a very minimal charge.

I don't really have a why other than it is easy for me to do it this way.

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SpringMan
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by SpringMan » Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:02 pm

TurboTax because Vanguard provides it for free as a perk. Before this was available from Vanguard, I used to buy TurboTax or TaxCut on CD from a retail store.
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CABob
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by CABob » Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:16 pm

I have used TaxCut, TaxAct, TurboTax, and a couple of others that are no longer available. For the past 4 years or so I have used TT primarily because I get the software at a good price even thought I really prefer TC and TA. My taxes are relatively easy and any of the applications will produce satisfactory results for me.
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by chaz » Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:19 pm

cfs wrote:On this side of the keyboard, using Turbo Tax.

Did my taxes many years ago using paper and pencil to made corrections easy, then passed the information to another form using a pen--but that was then and this is now. I have used Turbo Tax for many years, it is easy to move the information from year to year. Not planning to go back to the paper and pencil in the near future.

Me too.
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by dbltrbl » Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:23 pm

TaxACT. Find it easy to use. I understand terminology better I think.I get free turbotax deluxe but last year it showed I was owing lot more than my hand calculations or TAx Act. I am sure I misunderstood their question or somethings who knows. It also would not give state taxes right. Have used TAX ACT for few years. Price is right.

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tuningfork
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by tuningfork » Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:55 pm

Previously I used TaxCut, until one year with unusual circumstances related to stock options or RSUs or something similar, whatever it was I needed to do TaxCut just said "read the IRS instructions and enter the value here". Huh? So I bought TurboTax and it helped me through it. I've been using TurboTax ever since. Also, I get it free each year from one of my financial institutions. Not a huge savings, but psychologically satisfying.

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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by btc228 » Sat Oct 18, 2014 2:32 pm

I usually use whichever is cheaper. Last year that was Turbotax because of the statefarm deal. I do use two programs to double check my entries. Sometimes I do find that I missed a deduction or credit here or there because of the wording of whichever software. I do find turbotax easier to use, however.

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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by pjstack » Sat Oct 18, 2014 4:03 pm

kazper wrote:During my first few years I used an accountant. After looking through the final results, i realized my return is fairly easy and could not justify the 250+ cost. :oops:

I started out using turbo tax but didn't like the price structure, especially when I lived in two states and had to pay a premium to file both.

A few years later I switched to taxslayer. It was considerably lower than the tax act and turbotax estimates. I went with it one year but questioned the difference and felt like their calculations might be incorrect leading to an audit. The main difference seemed to be where they deducted things, which altered the entire return.

The following year I moved over to taxact and have used it since. My experience with them has been great. I have emailed support with a few questions and always receive sound guidance. This year might be a little more complicated as I sold some stocks. I guess we'll see!

What do you use and why? Do you ever run the free versions of others to double check?

I do it by hand
pjstack

munemaker
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by munemaker » Sat Oct 18, 2014 4:40 pm

I used TurboTax for years. As they becameemore and more popular, I expected their prices to drop due to economy of scale. However, the opposite happened. I changed to TaxAct years ago and am completely satisfied. My taxes are not all that complicated and any tax program would work.

I have to wonder why the IRS does not provide a free package. Seems like they save money not printing all the forms and instructions. Why do we have to buy a program? I don't get that.

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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by jebmke » Sat Oct 18, 2014 4:42 pm

munemaker wrote:I used TurboTax for years. As they becameemore and more popular, I expected their prices to drop due to economy of scale. However, the opposite happened. I changed to TaxAct years ago and am completely satisfied. My taxes are not all that complicated and any tax program would work.

I have to wonder why the IRS does not provide a free package. Seems like they save money not printing all the forms and instructions. Why do we have to buy a program? I don't get that.


http://freefile.irs.gov/
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by gkaplan » Sat Oct 18, 2014 4:49 pm

jebmke wrote:
munemaker wrote:I used TurboTax for years. As they becameemore and more popular, I expected their prices to drop due to economy of scale. However, the opposite happened. I changed to TaxAct years ago and am completely satisfied. My taxes are not all that complicated and any tax program would work.

I have to wonder why the IRS does not provide a free package. Seems like they save money not printing all the forms and instructions. Why do we have to buy a program? I don't get that.


http://freefile.irs.gov/


Also, https://www.freefilefillableforms.com/#/fd
Gordon

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dodecahedron
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by dodecahedron » Sat Oct 18, 2014 4:58 pm

gkaplan wrote:
jebmke wrote:
munemaker wrote:I used TurboTax for years. As they becameemore and more popular, I expected their prices to drop due to economy of scale. However, the opposite happened. I changed to TaxAct years ago and am completely satisfied. My taxes are not all that complicated and any tax program would work.

I have to wonder why the IRS does not provide a free package. Seems like they save money not printing all the forms and instructions. Why do we have to buy a program? I don't get that.


http://freefile.irs.gov/


Also, https://www.freefilefillableforms.com/#/fd


The IRS is very short on resources and it is unlikely that Congress would give it the funds needed to do an adequate job of creating and maintaining software to deal with the constantly changing tax laws. Also, the tax software publishers are a powerful lobby that struck a deal with the government years ago. Both the freefile initiative and the free fillable forms linked above are entirely financed by a consortium of private commercial software publishers *IN EXCHANGE FOR* an agreement that the IRS will not compete with them by providing an official electronic filing method. According to this Forbes article published in April of this year, that deal was due to expire in October (i.e., this month.) I don't know if it has been renewed, but I would strongly imagine it has been renewed.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/taxanalysts ... taxpayers/

Edited to add: Here is the current "Memorandum of Understanding" between the IRS and the private software publishers. Apparently it expires October 30, 2014 (in less than two weeks.) I'd be very surprised if it is not renewed.

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/fifth_ff_mou_2009.pdf

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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by stlutz » Sat Oct 18, 2014 5:23 pm

I use free fillable forms. Two reasons:

a) I just have a problem paying someone to help me pay money to someone.

b) I always worry about skipping things I should report (or can deduct). As such, I prefer to sit down and just read through the rules each time.

At the end of the day it only take a few hours each year. Is TurboTax etc. really that much faster?

munemaker
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by munemaker » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:12 pm

jebmke wrote:
munemaker wrote:I used TurboTax for years. As they becameemore and more popular, I expected their prices to drop due to economy of scale. However, the opposite happened. I changed to TaxAct years ago and am completely satisfied. My taxes are not all that complicated and any tax program would work.

I have to wonder why the IRS does not provide a free package. Seems like they save money not printing all the forms and instructions. Why do we have to buy a program? I don't get that.


http://freefile.irs.gov/

Thanks. After reading this, I remembered there was a program available to lower income taxpayers, and I wondered why it would not be available to all. After reading the Forbes article, I now understand why. It may be a little more work, but maybe I'll just use the fillable forms to spite the SOBs.

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joe8d
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by joe8d » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:16 pm

Free TT from VG as a Flagship customer. Have used TaxAct in the past and found it be very good.
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munemaker
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by munemaker » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:56 pm

Canceled.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:00 pm

I do mine by hand, supplemented by a(n RPN) calculator. I submit electronically when it's free. I do choose an online tool to find out whether we agree. The last time we didn't come up with the same number the tool was wrong, not me - I tracked down the specific rule the software implemented incorrectly, and came up with their number when I intentionally made their mistake.

The cost of tax software is less than the value of my time, but comprehending all my own tax issues in full detail is worth more to me than both put together.

If I were running a significant business of course I would use a CPA, or even pay expert staff reporting to the CFO.

PJW

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dodecahedron
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by dodecahedron » Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:07 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:I do mine by hand, supplemented by a(n RPN) calculator. I submit electronically when it's free. I do choose an online tool to find out whether we agree. The last time we didn't come up with the same number the tool was wrong, not me - I tracked down the specific rule the software implemented incorrectly, and came up with their number when I intentionally made their mistake.

The cost of tax software is less than the value of my time, but comprehending all my own tax issues in full detail is worth more to me than both put together.

If I were running a significant business of course I would use a CPA, or even pay expert staff reporting to the CFO.

PJW


I am curious. If you don't mind saying, what was the rule the software didn't implement correctly? Also, what software program did you use to cross-check and how long ago did this happen? I have definitely encountered errors in the past with TurboTax and TaxCut (especially with state programs) but don't recall running across any recently. (Actually, that's not true. Early in the filing season, there are almost always glitches that need fixing. But I generally don't get too serious about filing taxes until close to April 15. This year--for the first time ever!--I even filed for an extension and didn't file until August, a personal record for me. I hope not to be so dilatory in the future. 2013 was a complicated year due to death of my husband and needing to file a 1041 and 706 for the estate as well as our final joint 1040.) But, anyway, one advantage of filing relatively late is that the software publishers have time to iron out the kinks in the tax software. Keeping everything updated and consistent is tough for the software publishers given that filing season opens in mid-January and the ink is barely dry on Congress's final tweaks to the tax laws at that point.

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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by Sidney » Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:12 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:I do mine by hand, supplemented by a(n RPN) calculator. I submit electronically when it's free. I do choose an online tool to find out whether we agree. The last time we didn't come up with the same number the tool was wrong, not me - I tracked down the specific rule the software implemented incorrectly, and came up with their number when I intentionally made their mistake.

The cost of tax software is less than the value of my time, but comprehending all my own tax issues in full detail is worth more to me than both put together.

If I were running a significant business of course I would use a CPA, or even pay expert staff reporting to the CFO.

PJW

There is no substitute for knowing how the return is built and how the rules work, even if using software. Whenever I have to do a schedule or form I have not done before, I always do it by hand. IMO the interview mode used by most software has really dumbed down tax preparation and can be dangerous.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:22 pm

dodecahedron wrote:...
I am curious. If you don't mind saying, what was the rule the software didn't implement correctly? ...

I'm pretty sure it was TaxAct, several years ago (within the last seven, because I remember where I was living while I worked it out). I've looked back through my notes and I didn't keep a record, but it was a fairly obscure exception n to something or other on a worksheet. Their number was a little lower than the exception said it should have been. I'm afraid I only remember the event, not all the details.

To try to be completely clear, if it had been my mistake I would have made a note, but its being somebody else's I ordinarily wouldn't, so presumably I didn't then.

PJW

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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by dodecahedron » Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:23 pm

Also, as far as my own crosschecking, I use several approaches to reality check my tax software. I totally agree with Phineas that it is worthwhile "getting under the hood" and understanding what is going on with one's taxes.

I generally do a lot of simple estimation by hand as the years goes on, just to get a running sense of my likely marginal tax rate for the year. I get TurboTax as soon as the preliminary version is on the market and start plugging in tentative numbers (marking them as estimates) in late November/early December. I cross-check TurboTax by entering the same figures into the training version of TaxWise Online (professional software purchased by the IRS for VITA sites, including the one where I serve). And I continue to update all three approaches--my hand checked calculations, TurboTax, and the TaxWise cross-check until I am ready to push send on the TurboTax efile.

Something new this year is that NY, for the first time ever, had a free efile interface on the NYS Tax Department website. I thought it was very elegant and functional but unfortunately there was some complication in my return (can't remember what at the moment) that it couldn't handle. I will definitely consider using it in the future. Last year was probably the most complicated tax filing of my entire life, due to my husband's death and all the ensuing changes, including the closing of his business, the consolidation of many retirement plans and taxable account investments, and so on.

I'd love to get to the point where my taxes are so simple that I could just do everything by hand, and maybe get my daughters to check my work instead of software. (It would be educational for them.)

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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by grabiner » Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:17 pm

My experiences with TaxAct in 2013 and TurboTax in 2012, with a comparison to TaxAct

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
dodecahedron wrote:...
I am curious. If you don't mind saying, what was the rule the software didn't implement correctly? ...

I'm pretty sure it was TaxAct, several years ago (within the last seven, because I remember where I was living while I worked it out). I've looked back through my notes and I didn't keep a record, but it was a fairly obscure exception n to something or other on a worksheet. Their number was a little lower than the exception said it should have been. I'm afraid I only remember the event, not all the details.


I have seen errors as well; they are more common with state taxes because there are 44 different sets of tax laws. I have found three NJ bugs in TaxAct, two applying only to a small number of part-year residents. The third one is documented in the linked posts; TaxAct cannot properly report HSA interest for NJ taxes. (It can properly report interest for CA taxes, even though CA also doesn't recognize HSAs.)
David Grabiner

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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by feh » Tue Oct 21, 2014 12:58 pm

Used to bounce around from product to product. Been using Taxact for the last 5 or 6 years now.

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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by technovelist » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:07 pm

H&R Block at home, Deluxe.
I got a free version a couple of years ago but paid for a download last year.
Does anyone know when the new version usually comes out? It should be fairly soon, I imagine, but I can't find that information on their website.
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by 853211 » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:17 pm

TaxAct and verify with pencil and paper.

I've found that I better understand TaxAct's phrasing of questions as opposed to Turbo Tax.

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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:21 pm

feh wrote:Used to bounce around from product to product. Been using Taxact for the last 5 or 6 years now.


+1 TaxAct.com. I get the Fed/State bundle. Reasonable and I've had no issues.
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Re: What tax software do you use and why

Post by ubermax » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:23 pm

Turbo , Vanguard aligned itself with it years ago

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