Author Topic: For those of you who do your own taxes, what tax software do you use?  (Read 1301 times)

couchfi

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I've been using turbotax since I got my first w2 job and it has scaled well to my current life of job + kid + house + rental + dividends. I'll have some K1-income for the first time this tax season after venturing into RE crowdfunding, and will probably continue using it. It's more expensive than some other options out there, but I like the familiarity every year and the cost is still far cheaper than an accountant for my increasingly complicated tax situation.

I have a friend who swears by freetaxUSA and that works for him. It's quite a bit cheaper than turbotax, and he tells me turbo tax simplifies a lot of tax forms, freetaxusa is more barebones, but that can be good if you want to learn about the tax system.

What do you use and why?

jekamom

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Re: For those of you who do your own taxes, what tax software do you use?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2019, 05:24:15 AM »
I am big on teaching others to do thier own taxes.  I recommend turbo tax because it is so well done and they actually have helpful staff when there is a rare glitch.  I recommend everyone pay the extra $30 or so to save the data so the return is prepopulated the next year and the returns are available online when needed.  Makes applying for a mortgage or filling out a FAFSA or a financial statement much easier. After someone has done thier own return a few times, I see an increase in empowerment and financial literacy in them. They do a good job being positive and encouraging for the user during the data input process.

Turbo tax's pricing is based on the complexity of the return.  Free for simple returns at lower income levels, state is extra. 

I used turbo tax years ago--but our returns are complicated, with State Corporate returns, carryforward general business credits, depreciation schedules, and such.  The CPA firm is also the back up for our business for continuity in the event something happens to me.  If it were just my personal returns, I would use turbo tax.

david123

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Re: For those of you who do your own taxes, what tax software do you use?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2019, 06:25:11 AM »
I use HR Block tax software.  It seems to work well for me.  I've used others in the past, and don't notice a significant difference.

I used the downloaded version.  I think they have an online version too, but I'd rather keep my data local. 

Ocko

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Re: For those of you who do your own taxes, what tax software do you use?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2019, 11:51:50 AM »
For simple filings use whichever software gives you the biggest refund.

nycrite

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Re: For those of you who do your own taxes, what tax software do you use?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2019, 03:00:44 PM »
I wonder how many people's 2018 choice of software is simply due to inertia, since having prior year return data is a big plus for sticking with the same software.

I use TaxAct, and while there may be more functional or cheaper options out there, it works well enough for me, and I can see historical return data to compare against the current year return. Inertia is a big part of my decision!

couchfi

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Re: For those of you who do your own taxes, what tax software do you use?
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2019, 01:53:57 AM »

I used turbo tax years ago--but our returns are complicated, with State Corporate returns, carryforward general business credits, depreciation schedules, and such.  The CPA firm is also the back up for our business for continuity in the event something happens to me.  If it were just my personal returns, I would use turbo tax.


@jekamom at what point did you switch to using a CPA firm? Did you do your own taxes the first few years of your business or was that the point things got too complicated? I'm considering opening up an LLC or S Corp as my investments get more complicated in real estate, but it's still relatively passive, so I'm hoping i can still stick with doing it myself.

I wonder how many people's 2018 choice of software is simply due to inertia, since having prior year return data is a big plus for sticking with the same software.

I use TaxAct, and while there may be more functional or cheaper options out there, it works well enough for me, and I can see historical return data to compare against the current year return. Inertia is a big part of my decision!

Turbotax is definitely inertia to me. It's more expensive than a lot of other options, but I'm familiar with it, it imports most of my forms which saves hours of time that more than makes up for the difference.

jekamom

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Re: For those of you who do your own taxes, what tax software do you use?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2019, 05:26:02 AM »
Personally, I switched to a CPA firm when it got complicated on the business side and we incorporated our second business (1999-2000).  First business is real estate based, so it wasn't complicated.  Our income had increased to the level it is now and we were up to 4 children.  The switch was partly to reduce the investment of time involved but mostly for having the back up of professionals who had the job of meeting deadlines, carrying forward tax credits and preparing K-1's.  I really would rather not deal with calculating depreciation or prepare our state's business returns due in March annually.  Back then I could purchase tax software for the computer, but it wasn't as user friendly and my personal return (state and federal) totaled 90 something pages.  (It's longer now)

An important reason to have a professional is for continuity if something were to happen to me.  Dear husband is very good at what he does. Those skills do not include any interest in the nuances of tax prep or interest in keeping up with tax code.  The new 199A rules are still being figured out by my CPA firm.  I have been proactive and have spent time reading to understand so that I know where we stand--time I wouldn't have had if I prepared my own returns.

Hope that helps!


Behemoth

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Re: For those of you who do your own taxes, what tax software do you use?
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2019, 03:51:56 AM »
I use Credit Karma's free tax service and it is fantastic. I switched over from Turbo Tax and won't be going back.

That said, this is my last year doing my own taxes. I am switching to a CPA for next year.

sfpf

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Re: For those of you who do your own taxes, what tax software do you use?
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2019, 04:03:51 PM »
I use Turbo Tax. I used HR Block online prior to that. Both are about the same. Neither one really stands out as easier than the other for me.

Young And The Invested

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Re: For those of you who do your own taxes, what tax software do you use?
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2019, 11:59:33 AM »
I’ve always piggy-backed on my parents’ TurboTax because of the 5 included e-files. Typical Millennial, I know.

However, I’ve decided to fly the coop this year and will be using TurboTax with my wife. I didn’t realize the product fetched the premium it did until I contracted to write tax software reviews for an online review site.

Luckily for me, as part of reviewing the software, I’m reimbursed for a paid version of the software. Otherwise, I’d have gone for a cheaper software package.

The software I reviewed included:
  • TurboTax
  • H&R Block
  • TaxSlayer
  • TaxAct
  • E-File
Of those 5, the fanciest packages (re: more horsepower under the hood) are TurboTax and H&R Block. Both, as I mentioned above, also have prices which reflect this.

E-File and TaxAct were geared toward simple tax situations or seasoned fliers who know their way around their returns.

TaxSlayer is the hybrid with a lower cost and some better guidance. Though, I will say it isn’t exactly holding your hand during the preparation, either.

In hindsight after doing the reviews, I would have chosen to use TaxSlayer. But at the time when I didn’t know my other options, I chose TurboTax because I have an overall complicated tax picture and wanted to be sure it would be done correctly. My return will include multiple sources of income, rental properties, student loan interest, and business deductions.

Finally, this is my first tax season having my CPA. I plan to use it by helping out with community tax preparation activities through my employer (we’ll use TaxSlayer for that work) and assist my wife’s co-residents prepare their tax returns for some added experience. The best way to learn these details is to suffer through the preparation process numerous times.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 12:14:24 PM by Young And The Invested »
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