Turbotax Online vs. Download

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Small Law Survivor
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Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by Small Law Survivor » Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:54 pm

In past years I've downloaded Turbotax, but this year I'm forced to use the online version - my computer/OS is too ... old :!:

So, I've put a lot of numbers (some of which are estimates) into the online program (to do Roth conversion modeling), and my impression is that it's a better designed, smoother program. I'm not doing a side-by-side comparison, but I'm remembering my past experiences with TT downloads in past years.

Anyone else share this observation?

jebmke
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by jebmke » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:48 pm

Small Law Survivor wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:54 pm
In past years I've downloaded Turbotax, but this year I'm forced to use the online version - my computer/OS is too ... old :!:

So, I've put a lot of numbers (some of which are estimates) into the online program (to do Roth conversion modeling), and my impression is that it's a better designed, smoother program. I'm not doing a side-by-side comparison, but I'm remembering my past experiences with TT downloads in past years.

Anyone else share this observation?
Are you able to do multiple returns (for planning purposes)? I use HRBlock downloaded and one of the reasons is to be able to prepare and save multiple returns. I can complete a pro-forma and make a copy to tweak and be able to compare both returns side by side.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

radiowave
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by radiowave » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:54 pm

Small Law Survivor wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:54 pm
In past years I've downloaded Turbotax, but this year I'm forced to use the online version - my computer/OS is too ... old :!:

So, I've put a lot of numbers (some of which are estimates) into the online program (to do Roth conversion modeling), and my impression is that it's a better designed, smoother program. I'm not doing a side-by-side comparison, but I'm remembering my past experiences with TT downloads in past years.

Anyone else share this observation?
I always like to have a CD and apparently that is not an option this year so went down to Office Depot and bought the CD version. Seems the same as last year.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

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tfb
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by tfb » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:54 pm

Small Law Survivor wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:54 pm
So, I've put a lot of numbers (some of which are estimates) into the online program (to do Roth conversion modeling), and my impression is that it's a better designed, smoother program. I'm not doing a side-by-side comparison, but I'm remembering my past experiences with TT downloads in past years.

Anyone else share this observation?
I don't share this observation at all. The download/CD product is both more capable and less expensive.
Harry Sit, taking a break from the forums.

mike_in_ny
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by mike_in_ny » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:02 pm

I had been doing the cloud version of Turbotax these last few years without issue.

Last year, I ran into a problem, with the lack of ability to file multiple returns under
the same purchase. My 17 year-old daughter had some small capital gains in addition
to summer income, and because of that, could not use the free version. I needed to
buy a version of it, despite having already filed online.

As I understand it, the CD version still allows for multiple returns -- so from now on,
I'll be back to buying that.

Small Law Survivor
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by Small Law Survivor » Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:08 am

jebmke wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:48 pm
Are you able to do multiple returns (for planning purposes)? I use HRBlock downloaded and one of the reasons is to be able to prepare and save multiple returns. I can complete a pro-forma and make a copy to tweak and be able to compare both returns side by side.
No, you cannot do multiple returns w/t online version. But, I don't need that, so it's not an issue for me.

fourwheelcycle
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by fourwheelcycle » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:53 am

Two considerations -

I do my taxes and also my father's, as his POA, so I benefit from the download version which allows multiple returns.

Many years ago, when I was using the online version, I had to do an amended return for a previous year. I checked with TurboTax and learned that, at that time, previous years' online versions were not available to do amended returns. They told me I would have to purchase the download version for the year I needed to amend. Perhaps this has changed by now, but ever since I have purchased the download version, which can be opened (with automatic updates) to do amended returns during subsequent years. As it turns out, however, I have never needed to do another amended return.

GreenGrowTheDollars
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by GreenGrowTheDollars » Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:37 am

I gave up on the on-line version years ago when it wouldn't let me see the actual tax forms during the entry process. Glad I did - the way they originally asked questions about HSA accounts would have led me down the path of a major error.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:55 am

Small Law Survivor wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:54 pm
In past years I've downloaded Turbotax, but this year I'm forced to use the online version - my computer/OS is too ... old :!:

So, I've put a lot of numbers (some of which are estimates) into the online program (to do Roth conversion modeling), and my impression is that it's a better designed, smoother program. I'm not doing a side-by-side comparison, but I'm remembering my past experiences with TT downloads in past years.

Anyone else share this observation?
I've heard that the download/CD version is more capable so have always feared using the online versin. Are you able to quickly/easily switch between Interview-mode and Forms-mode with the online version? Also - my understanding is the online version doesn't allow multiple returns (I do my parents and my daughters' returns with the single download/CD product).

HopeToGolf
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by HopeToGolf » Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:30 am

I like to be able to see the forms so I stick to downloads.

pshonore
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by pshonore » Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:34 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:55 am
Small Law Survivor wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:54 pm
In past years I've downloaded Turbotax, but this year I'm forced to use the online version - my computer/OS is too ... old :!:

So, I've put a lot of numbers (some of which are estimates) into the online program (to do Roth conversion modeling), and my impression is that it's a better designed, smoother program. I'm not doing a side-by-side comparison, but I'm remembering my past experiences with TT downloads in past years.

Anyone else share this observation?
I've heard that the download/CD version is more capable so have always feared using the online versin. Are you able to quickly/easily switch between Interview-mode and Forms-mode with the online version? Also - my understanding is the online version doesn't allow multiple returns (I do my parents and my daughters' returns with the single download/CD product).
Let me know if TT shows you the forms in the online versions before paying.

Mitchell777
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by Mitchell777 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:49 pm

I've always used on-line TT through Vanguard. I also probably could not have used download due to old OS but now I bought a new computer. If I bought the download version, would that then allow me to simulate different taxation scenarios throughout the year? I do not believe I can do that with the on-line version. Also can I still submit taxes electronically with the download version.

jebmke
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by jebmke » Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:57 pm

Mitchell777 wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:49 pm
If I bought the download version, would that then allow me to simulate different taxation scenarios throughout the year? Yes; and this is a must have for me

I do not believe I can do that with the on-line version. Also can I still submit taxes electronically with the download version. yes
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

Gray
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by Gray » Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:46 pm

I’ve been using the online TurboTax version for 10+ years and love it. Besides, I haven’t had a computer with a CD/DVD nor needed a CD/DVD at all during the past 5 years. I used the form-based version for the 95 tax year until I switched to the online version. You can buy and download the form-based version—you don’t need a CD.

I archive my returns and artifacts (e.g, W2 PDFs, spreadsheet, etc.) on Intuit’s online storage site and another cloud provider, both with multifactor authentication.

You can produce a PDF with just your return, and another PDF with all the forms and worksheets, so you can see what all those forms look like before/after you file, and are prepared for possible audits. The only difference is that you populate the forms via a question and answer, fill their fields, interface rather than the tax forms—which I Very much prefer.

Mitchell777
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by Mitchell777 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:59 am

Gray wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:46 pm
I’ve been using the online TurboTax version for 10+ years and love it. Besides, I haven’t had a computer with a CD/DVD nor needed a CD/DVD at all during the past 5 years. I used the form-based version for the 95 tax year until I switched to the online version. You can buy and download the form-based version—you don’t need a CD.

I archive my returns and artifacts (e.g, W2 PDFs, spreadsheet, etc.) on Intuit’s online storage site and another cloud provider, both with multifactor authentication.

You can produce a PDF with just your return, and another PDF with all the forms and worksheets, so you can see what all those forms look like before/after you file, and are prepared for possible audits. The only difference is that you populate the forms via a question and answer, fill their fields, interface rather than the tax forms—which I Very much prefer.
What does form based mean in this instance? Do you fill in forms for the download version much like you would if you used hard copy form and pencil, as opposed to the questions that the on-line version takes you through?

J295
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by J295 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:31 am

Hi smalllawsurvivor.

I’ve always enjoyed your posts, and pay particular attention because I also am a retired small law survivor ( 25 person firm, transitioned five years ago at age 53).

Just wanted to wish you happy new year, and take a chance to good naturedly rib you just a tiny bit… You retired in a nice financial position, and the markets have been good for all of us since then, so you can loosen your purse strings and buy a new computer now!

FWIW ... we also like the download version, although I’ve never tried online program.

Take care.

Triple digit golfer
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by Triple digit golfer » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:03 am

I have a general TurboTax question. Would the Deluxe or Premier make more sense for me? We itemize, have a child, and have capital gains and losses and will need Schedule D.

Would Premier be necessary for capital gains and losses or can the Deluxe handle it?

Small Law Survivor
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by Small Law Survivor » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:05 am

J295 wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:31 am
Just wanted to wish you happy new year, and take a chance to good naturedly rib you just a tiny bit… You retired in a nice financial position, and the markets have been good for all of us since then, so you can loosen your purse strings and buy a new computer now!
Thanks J295, and Happy New Year to you.

You are right, I should loosen my purse strings and buy a new computer! :happy

However, I think I am permanently and psychologically scarred by my upbringing - my father was born in 1920, a first generation American. His immigrant father died in 1929, leaving his mother, him and his two siblings impoverished. Bad timing. (Another sister died at age 4 - the family came home from the beach, she fell ill and died that night - burial location and name unknown to this day).

My father graduated from MIT with a degree in chemical engineering, after serving in the Air Force during WWII.

I worked for my father for many years - summers from age 16 until mid-'20s, and full time for a couple of years when I took some "gap years" (aka college dropout) in the middle of college. Driving back and forth with him from home to work an hour each way gave him a chance to tell me about his childhood and all the challenges he and his family faced when his father died at the start of the great depression. It's hard to imagine how broke his family was in the 1930s.

He was incredibly frugal, and he instilled those values in me. Also, his deep paranoia. I am quite sure he transmitted some of his PTSD to me. Not a lot I can do about that now.

My mother's parents had a similar experience - her father became wealthy in the 1920s, and was wiped out by the depression. He died young, and my maternal grandmother had to live on the generosity of relatives until one of her sons grew up and was able to work and care for her. Quite a story in all its details ....

So, I guess you could say that I'm carrying a lot of baggage.

Thanks again.

Small Law Survivor

pshonore
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by pshonore » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:26 am

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:03 am
I have a general TurboTax question. Would the Deluxe or Premier make more sense for me? We itemize, have a child, and have capital gains and losses and will need Schedule D.

Would Premier be necessary for capital gains and losses or can the Deluxe handle it?
No, Deluxe will handle it just fine (cd/ download version). Actually I think even Basic will do it.

J295
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by J295 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:26 am

SLS ....Thanks for sharing

Triple digit golfer
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by Triple digit golfer » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:34 am

pshonore wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:26 am
Triple digit golfer wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:03 am
I have a general TurboTax question. Would the Deluxe or Premier make more sense for me? We itemize, have a child, and have capital gains and losses and will need Schedule D.

Would Premier be necessary for capital gains and losses or can the Deluxe handle it?
No, Deluxe will handle it just fine (cd/ download version). Actually I think even Basic will do it.
Thanks. But not the online Deluxe. If I'm doing online would I need Premiere?

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HueyLD
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by HueyLD » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:49 am


Triple digit golfer
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by Triple digit golfer » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:03 pm

HueyLD wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:49 am
Yes. See https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-ta ... deluxe.jsp
Thanks! I couldn't locate a good chart like the one on that page! Much appreciated.

Mitchell777
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by Mitchell777 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:52 pm

Thank you for the link. When I go to CD/Download version and click on "single", "own home", "sold stocks/bonds/own rental property", it suggests Premier. Is that an upsell from Deluxe I do not need if I do not own rental property?

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HueyLD
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by HueyLD » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:08 pm

You don't need Premier. In fact, Basic will do. But getting Deluxe may be a good compromise.

MikeG62
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by MikeG62 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:33 pm

I have used the download (CD) version every year other than one year, when I used the online version (though Fidelity). Just so happens that in that year, after filing, I received a notice (can’t remember whether from TT or Fidelity) indicating that anyone who imported data from their financial institution into TT needed to change their passwords as there was some risk the account info could have been compromised. Last time I ever used the online version (that was about 12-15 years ago) - and never plan to again.

I really can’t say 100% for sure that this issue was isolated to the online version. Just scared the crap out of me and I vowed not to use the online version again. Have never had a similar issue using the download version.

One persons experience FWIW.

Triple digit golfer
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by Triple digit golfer » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:25 pm

HueyLD wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:08 pm
You don't need Premier. In fact, Basic will do. But getting Deluxe may be a good compromise.
Basic doesn't have Schedule D though, right? So that wouldn't work.

jebmke
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by jebmke » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:32 pm

Basic has Schedule D according to their web site.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

Triple digit golfer
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by Triple digit golfer » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:36 pm

jebmke wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:32 pm
Basic has Schedule D according to their web site.
I looked again and I think you are incorrect. It shows schedule D only with Deluxe and above for online and Premier and above for download or CD.

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HueyLD
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by HueyLD » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:40 pm

Yes, the Basic downloaded version will do almost all the forms. See https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/irs-forms/

jebmke
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by jebmke » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:43 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:36 pm
jebmke wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:32 pm
Basic has Schedule D according to their web site.
I looked again and I think you are incorrect. It shows schedule D only with Deluxe and above for online and Premier and above for download or CD.
When I hit "View Forms" under Basic it shows Schedule D on the list. Maybe they are misrepresenting what the product contains. I haven't used them in years though. They had that stumble of corporate business practices plus their product interface isn't very easy to use.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

Triple digit golfer
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by Triple digit golfer » Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:04 pm

Looks like the download or CD versions all include all the forms but online do not.

If I do the download or CD version is there any good reason to not just use Basic? The most complex part of our taxes is Schedule D with some capital gains and losses. Everything else is pretty straightforward.

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HueyLD
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by HueyLD » Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:34 pm

The Basic does not include a state return. And you can get the Deluxe version inlcuding one state for about the same price as the Basic version plus extra for a state.

I think the Deluxe version gets the best value as it also includes pretty good instructions.

One minor downside is that you will have to pay for e-filing for the state return. However, you can just mail it in, or fill out online forms on the state website for certain states.

Triple digit golfer
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by Triple digit golfer » Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:46 pm

HueyLD wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:34 pm
The Basic does not include a state return. And you can get the Deluxe version inlcuding one state for about the same price as the Basic version plus extra for a state.

I think the Deluxe version gets the best value as it also includes pretty good instructions.

One minor downside is that you will have to pay for e-filing for the state return. However, you can just mail it in, or fill out online forms on the state website for certain states.
Yep, I did see that with the state return factored in Deluxe is the better value.

I may just stick with TaxAct as I've been using.

Gray
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Re: Turbotax Online vs. Download

Post by Gray » Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:19 am

I referred to the desktop version as form-based as you can access the forms and change data there directly.

I use the Premier version since the Deluxe Edition cannot handle Schedule D or Form 8949. Form 1099-B reporting sales of stocks/mutual funds/bonds, and capital gains/losses requires the Premier Edition or higher.

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