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JudgmentBuy Article:

Alternatives To TurboTax

My finances are fairly simple, so I have not needed anyone to help me do my taxes for a very long time. My preference in computers is the Macintosh. For almost 20 years I have used Intuit's TurboTax to do my taxes for many ways.

Soon after Apple introduced and refined OSX and "killed" OS9; there came one year when OSX TurboTax would not import my previous year's tax file, made with that last version of TurboTax for OS9. Because it stopped importing its own tax file from the previous version of TurboTax, I tried the Windows version. Surprisingly, the TurboTax for Windows imported my Macintosh-based OS9 tax file from the previous year, so I used the Windows version for the next several years.

This article is my opinion, and not legal advice. I am a judgment broker, and am not a lawyer. If you ever need any legal advice or a strategy to use, please contact a lawyer.

A very long time ago, I signed up for TurboTax's annual program, where they would charge my credit card and mail me their CD. In late 2012, they emailed me that my CD order was on its way, however it never showed up in my mailbox. When I went to their web site, I saw they were now are moving toward the online model. They never told me that they decided not to charge my credit card or mail me a CD. It was not clear to me that their online version would be able to import my last year's taxes, and that helped me decide to look at the competition.

I asked a few friends what they used, and several recommended TaxAct.com, so I tried it. While the ads for it say they are free; if you want to complete and e-file your state and federal taxes, they are not really free. They attempted to up-sell me often. I ended up paying about $35 to complete my state and federal taxes and e-file them. When you do your taxes with any tax program, there are hundreds of questions to answer and options to select. Up until the last step, I thought I was paying about $18, and then near the end of the process, it jumped to $35. I was eager to finish my taxes, so I just paid the $35, because that was still a lot less than buying the CD version of TurboTax.

TaxAct.com has many good features. It imported a PDF of my previous year taxes that I saved last year using TurboTax, which was very nice. Although TaxAct asked me to enter the exact same information in a few places, overall it was very easy to use. When it was time to e-file my taxes, like all tax software; one had to navigate the government's PIN system and jump through some small extra hoops.

I am certain that all online tax companies including TurboTax work just fine, as good as any CD-based versions of tax software. Like almost all software programs, I know tax programs will all someday be online.


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