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I have been using Turbotax on the web for a number of years because of a deal they offered for Fidelity clients (some years were free, some were half price). I don't think there is a special deal being offered anymore so I am trying to figure out the differences/relative value of the web-based product vs. the windows based product. Anyone have any input? I assume they both have the same bells and whistles since they both have different versions such as basic, deluxe, & premier. There is a slight difference in cost - I believe filing w/the web basic version is $19.95, whereas buying the basic windows version is $29.95 w/1 free filing. I believe purchasing the windows versions also allows for a free state download, but I don't have state income tax, so I am not seeing that as an advantage.

I would assume that some people like the windows based versions better because it gives them the freedom of entering data w/out being on line. Are there other advantages as well?

On the flip side, I am assuming (please correct me if i am wrong) that using the web-based version avoids this whole "activation" fiasco that I have been reading about.

Any thoughts?

I think you have most of the points covered. There is no activation "issue" with the web product. On the other hand, if you use the web product, your data is being stored on someone else's disk farm. No matter how good their security, there is always the risk that someone may get access to your data. My preference has always been to keep my data on my own system.

One other possible (dis-)advantage to the desktop based version is that you have the program if you need to reaccess or amend your return in future years. This could be an advantage if the website doesn't maintain back years online. On the other hand, if operating systems change dramatically, the old desktop software may no longer run on a newer OS, while the web-based product might.

Bottom line -- there is no "one size fits all" rule for deciding which version to use.


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