Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
 
No. of Recommendations: 0
For perhaps 20 years now I've been preparing taxes on my Mac; originally using Turbotax, then switching to H&R Block's product about 10 years ago.

The software I used was usually about $40.

I know that H&R Block, Turbo Tax, and TaxAct all offer free online tax prep. (Block charges $9.99 for State taxes.)

I'm interested in opinions comparing these online services with software running on my own Mac.

Free sounds too good to be true. I can imagine a scenario where it asks me if I own a home, or have kids, and then tells me I don't qualify for the free filing.

I don't think my taxes are overly complicated. I do own a home, buy & sell stocks, and have kids and a job. My combined household income is less than $100K/year.

So, go online for free (or $9.99)? Or pay $40 like I've been doing every year for 20 years?
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
Call me excessively paranoid, but I won't do my taxes on line. I use TaxAct, for $15. Texas doesn't have a state income tax, so I have no need of TaxAct's state functionality.

I have no idea how well TaxAct runs on a Mac, though.

Eric Hines
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
I'm on the paranoid side myself. I also use Taxact and have for 10-15 years. It is nice to be able to handle your taxes offline.

Cheers
Vern
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
I know that H&R Block, Turbo Tax, and TaxAct all offer free online tax prep. (Block charges $9.99 for State taxes.)
I'm interested in opinions comparing these online services with software running on my own Mac.

Free sounds too good to be true. I can imagine a scenario where it asks me if I own a home, or have kids, and then tells me I don't qualify for the free filing. I don't think my taxes are overly complicated. I do own a home, buy & sell stocks, and have kids and a job. My combined household income is less than $100K/year.

==============================
According to the IRS website, https://apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile/jsp/wizard.jsp

you can access the free versions there, but your income (AGI) has to be below $62,000 to qualify.

Bill
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
I'm on the paranoid side myself.

Can you enlighten me as what information in your income tax you are concerned with "bad guys" learning?

Maybe I am very foolish, but the credit companies know my networth, my income, my debt, my house value, my mortgage payment, what car I own or lease and the list goes on. While I really don't intend or desire to print all this information in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, it hardly needs security like the codes to launch a rocket.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
Tax software requires Social Security Numbers for everybody.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I've been using TaxAct for 10 or more years online. You have to keep remembering to say 'no, I don't want <insert fee for service item>" but it is easy and fast and does what I need without cost. And it is always so nice to get my refund a few days later.

JimA
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I have no idea how well TaxAct runs on a Mac, though.

TaxAct is the only one that doesn't have a native Mac version. Still, I have Windows installed on my Mac, so that's still an option.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
With online software ... procrastinators who wait til the last minute to do their taxes run the risk of not being able to get online ... and missing the filing deadline ... because the servers are full ... of other procrastinators.

This happened to me years ago on the Turbo Tax website ... and it was still three days before the deadline. I was eventually able to begin my taxes at 3:00 a.m. ... when everyone else had gone to bed.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
Tax software requires Social Security Numbers for everybody.

I also download TT and fill out the forms on my PC (as opposed to using the online version) because I just don't want "them" (the spying identity thieves) to have all my info, especially SSN. However, I do file electronically. That's different, I hope, although still a risk. :)
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Yes it is true that your identity information is available on line. However, why provide more details than you must. You can freeze your credit reports and prevent new applications as another means of preventing id theft.
The information provided to the tax organizations is simply more details to use by someone wanting to commit id theft. Why provide more information on line than absolutely necessary?
My personal financial information is between me and the tax agencies. That is also one reason I don't use tax preparation services and do my own.
To each his own.

Cheers
Vern
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
My personal financial information is between me and the tax agencies.

How do you get your tax return to the tax agency? If you send by USPS, there may be multiple people who touch your return before it arrives as the tax agency. I have more confidence in efile for avoiding any fraud.

PSU
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 4
Glad to have read this thread last night as I was exploring my options (tax preparer retired so we're doing it ourselves this year) and it was very helpful.

After reading positives about TaxAct here, I downloaded it last night. We have three tax returns, or possibly four if I use it for another relative's taxes. It's not quite as sleek and friendly as TT (and lacks the "are we having fun yet?" cheerleader style), but nontheless seems fairly straightforward, and at $22.49 (including a 25% discount found online) for five users, it seemed like the most economical way to go. Our college-aged kids both had W-2's and 1099-MISC's this year, so were unable to free file. TaxAct includes only one state return, but that shouldn't be an issue for us.

We used on-line freefile TT for the kids last year, and I went through the motions this year, but with the long form required, TT wanted $35 for what was really a very simple return, and that seemed excessive. Refunds were calculated as the same as TT, and the savings on the 5-user package seemed worth it. TaxAct was able to import the kids' basic info from their 2014 TT PDF's.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
After Microsoft's "get Windows 10" antics last year, I wanted to get away from Windows lock-in so I installed Linux Mint. It works well, but come to do my income taxes, I tried their on-line version to find that I couldn't enter figures directly into the forms. That is only possible with the downloaded version, so it's back to Windows for income taxes. TaxAct is a good program.

After Turbo Tax messed with hard disk boot sectors several years ago I now say "no" to Intuit.
Print the post Back To Top