tax prep software - is it worthwhile?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by ctmom05, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    We stopped doing our own tax return when we bought our house 10 years ago. That chore was never one I relished and once we took on home ownership I wanted every advantage that we could get. Plus, I was a little fearful of making expensive mistakes.

    Have you used tax prep software to do your taxes; like Turbo Tax or H&R or something similar? Was it an experience you would repeat or would you counsel someone with good basic match and computer skills NOT to take the chance?
  2. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I would highly recommend DIY tax preparation software, but only under the following conditions:

    - all of your tax documents (notices of assessment, earnings statements, receipts, etc.) are well organized and easy for you to find
    - your tax requirements are fairly straightforward and simple.
    For example: you work full-time for a single employer, don't have income property, are not self-employed or anything like that.

    I used to do my own taxes using QuickTax for years. It was clean and simple, and I always had my tax return filed (and my tax refund in hand) well before the deadline.

    Now that my tax situation is much more complex (run 2 small businesses, work on contract therefore considered self-employed, self-directed retirement plan, divorce and dependent claim-splitting, and a whole bunch of other nonsense), I find it much simpler to use an accountant. The deductions and tax breaks he finds for me more than make up for the fees I pay him.

    Hope this helps,
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2009
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Our tax issues have been very simple and straightforward the last few years, so I've been using a tax prep package. It's very easy. The only thing I can't figure out on it is some of the foreign tax stuff (we own foreign mutual fund shares that pay foreign taxes), so I haven't claimed it as a deduction the past two years (it really wasn't much to bother with in my opinion).

    In all honesty, I'm tired of doing it myself and would rather pay someone else to do it, but I haven't found anyone to replace our old tax guy who retired, so it's still in my lap to do.
  4. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I have used TurboTax for years. Our situation is simple enough with only salary and investment income with the typical deductions. The most complicated thing is husband's stock purchase plan and stock options and TurboTax sorts all of that out for me.
  5. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I've used Tax Cut for years and like it.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have used both Turbo Tax and TaxCut. Both are very reputable.

    Even better, if you go to and search for free file you can find software that will prepare your federal tax return for free if you are under $50,000 or $60,000. Not sure what the cut of amount is this year, but MANY people who buy the software can get the service FREE. And it is confidential, and safe and reliable. I used TurboTax through this for the last several years. Then all we had to pay was the state tax prep fee.
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I worked for the IRS for four seasons as a CSR, and the only experience I have with the programs are from angry people who messed something up. The biggest complaint I remember was when a dependent wasn't allowed because the SSN and name didn't match, which has nothing to do with the software.
  8. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    I thought that the free tax prep software programs offered less in the way of prompts that help you work in every last detail about your finances. Don't the paid programs give you a little more of a guiding hand when it comes to making your return as ultra complete as it can be?
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    husband and easy child love them. :D And we've never had a problem.
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I have used Tax Slayer for 3 years and OMG it is phenominal.

    Last year I didn't pay for the enhanced - find a deduction by line thing - and this year I did and brother what a difference - PLUS they will allow me and help me to go back and redo last years for very little.

    I paid $14.95 for the enhanced on line version and could not be happier.

    H&R Block can kiss my income tax......$395 for WHAT?

    very happy with on line Tax Slayer - They also have a FREE version - but I have mortgage and vehicle interest and child credit and other stuff......this does it like someone is asking you the questions - and you just type in the amts. It even tells you what to have to get started so it goes smooth.

    Good luck.
  11. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    I used an accountant for a couple of years because I got behind in filing taxes, and then discovered TurboTax. Love it! Have used it for over 10 years now. The online version gives you prompts, checks for errors, and gives you suggestions to prepare for next year's taxes. Makes life *much* easier.
  12. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I've used Turbo Tax since the day it was released (keep in mind, I've worked in CPA firms & filed tax returns & know what they charge).

    Love it, love it. Saying that, in the year 2010 I may have to hire someone to do my taxes ~ by that time husband will be off my tax returns & everything will have been switched to my name. May still use typical teen ~ we'll see.
  13. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    I have used the online I love it. The regulare version is free and if for some reason you want to go deluxe I think it is like $20 or something. The state version is 14 I think. Again the regular part is free and online. No software. Very safe. As long as you have all of your information it is a sinch.

  14. MyFriendKita

    MyFriendKita Member

    I've used several different programs over several years, and all of them have been good. If your situation hasn't changed much from last year, you should be able to handle using any of them with no problem. To make it easier, just use a copy of last year's tax return as a guide. One caveat--make a copy of your return when you finish it. I think most of them let you access prior year returns free (if they were done on that site), but I tried to retrieve some information from someone's 2007 return from TaxAct, and the site wanted me to pay for it.