Computerized Investing > March 2011

Tax Preparation Services

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by Joe Lan

Preparing taxes can be an arduous task, but it is one that must be done regularly. Luckily, there are several programs available online that are intuitive, powerful and inexpensive; some are even free if you are filing a simple tax return. One of the benefits of these programs is the systems they have in place to double-check your work and bring possible errors to your attention.

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Miles from MO posted over 7 years ago:

The analysis as presented leaves out an important consideration for AAII members: how do these programs handle stock portfolio transactions? I switched from H&R Block to Turbotax a few years ago primarily because I discovered that treatment of K-1 forms required much more manual manipulation in Block as compared to Turbotax. In addition, I don't think that stock transactions are handled automatically in Turbotax Deluxe; you need to buy Turbotax Premium. FWIW, I have used Turbotax Premium for 3 years now and am relatively pleased with Premium's feature set. However, as with any tax program, the data needs to be carefully checked against tax information provided by your broker.

Thomas from NJ posted over 7 years ago:

I have used turbo tax for several years and will continue to use the premier edition. Very happy with the results.

J from NJ posted over 7 years ago:

I am a fan of Tax Act, and a former user of Turbo Tax and H&R Tax Cut. The program functionality more than adequate and the price is right. Why pay more to prepare your taxes.

robert albers from illinois posted over 7 years ago:

does any user out there know which software packages handle both self-employment on schedule C and Form 1116 for foreign tax credits?

Gerald from OR posted over 7 years ago:

I found Tax Act to be incredibly tedious. I decided to try it based on price and the fact that it imported information from the PDF form from the prior year. The only information it imported was personal information, and nothing not on the 1040 header. It not only did it not take information from MSMoney or brokerage accounts, it would not allow cut-and-paste from any other source such as XL sheets, so all information needed to be typed. I was disappointed indeed, and got H&R Block federal and state. It took very little time to have all the basics done.

Richard from OH posted over 7 years ago:

I have used, not reviewed above, the past two years, for a low-complexity 1040 return that includes schedule C and SE, and have been satisfied with it. It carries previous year's information forward also. $20 to electronically file Federal, $15 or $20 for state.

Dick from CA posted over 7 years ago:

I have used both Turbotax and HR Block in the past and found little difference between them other than original cost and fees. I used Turbotax this year primarily because I got it free from Vanguard and filled in most of it without any hand holding. After doing my taxes for 20 years, it is hardly a problem if you keep decent records, and your broker is timely. I agree with the comment above that Turbotax makes it easy to fill in K-1 data. I think all programs are ripoffs charging about $20 for sending in State e-file. I sent in mine by mail-it cost $6, certified. It shows again how lobbying has made e-file costly when it should be free. After all, it is largely convenient for the IRS.

Samuel from CT posted over 7 years ago:

I have been using Turbo Tax.

This year I have been writing and buying options, both Puts and Calls, and I haven't figureout how to enter these in the system, the over rides are not easy. I have wash sales to account for. There are no easy entries for the options.

Raymond from WI posted over 7 years ago:

If I sell a business can I do the 5 year average income for my capital gains?

R w from TX posted over 6 years ago:

Any suggestions for a service or program which can provide advice for tax filing for a US citizen living abroad?

Meg from WA posted over 6 years ago:

I have always filled forms by hand. It allows me to roll up my sleeves and dig in. I stay in touch with tax law by diligent reading and by periodically visiting the local IRS office. It has never been a problem for me. 6-10+ pages. Last year I was invited by the IRS by postcard to use FreeFileFillableForms. It was the first year the IRS offered free filing for any other than EZ forms (to my knowledge).
I was impressed.,,id=226829,00.html

Note: It currently says check back after Jan 17, 2012

J from NY posted over 6 years ago:

I just purchased H&r Block at Home Deluxe plus state fir $34.95 online which is significantly cheaper then the cost cited. I have used it for 8 years and found is satisfactory.


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