Tax Software

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Taxes online -- where/how to file them?

Feb 2007

This year I'm looking into filing our taxes online, rather than forking over almost $200 to an accountant. Can anyone recommend a program/place that they've been consistently happy with? What's the average cost? The info in the archives is a bit dated.

I use It's quick, easy and costs around $5 or so. Anon
I just finished mine with Turbo Tax ( It was fantastically easy, but we didn't have a lot of fancy deductions. With e-file and direct deposit it was $85 in the end. Jill

Have you used Taxact?

Feb 2003

Has anyone used TaxAct (downloaded or online) to file his/her taxes this year or in past years ? I received an unsolicited e-mail offering the free downloadable software (you print and mail your return for free) or the e-file option for $7.95 (for each of the federal and state returns). their web site is is the offer legitimate ? is the software as good as Quicken or other commercial tax-return software ? thank you ! Meika

Tax filer,
This is the 3rd year in a row I've used Taxact. And what's neat about it is that they save your information every year. So, when you file again, the information is already there. I think they're pretty legit. Jenny
I've used both the software and the efile versions of Tax Act. The offer is legitimate (most people have no need for the ''deluxe'' upgrade they'll try to sell you) and the program works fine. Don't know what you mean by ''as good'' as the others. They all require some effort to enter your information from W-2's etc. and I doubt any of them have any ''tricks'' to save you money. I have a vague memory that Consumer Reports did a review of such programs last year or maybe it was in the Chronicle business/technology section. You could check the library for the former and the SF Gate archives for the latter. Good luck. Norm
I have used taxact for the past 2 years. I have been very pleased with it. It is easy to use, and I cannot understand why anyone would pay an accountant to do their taxes. I have paid about $25, but I usually choose the ''deluxe'' packages

Problems with TurboTax?

Feb 2003

Several people recommended TurboTax on the website, but I hear their 2002 edition has some egregious problems: six icons that attach themselves to one's desktop, can't reinstall it without a lot of difficulty if one's computer crashes. So what about HR Block's TaxCut? I know it's pretty cheap, and there are some favorable reviews on software websites. Any TaxCut fans out there? Melanie

Last year I switched from Turbo Tax to Tax Cut after reading several favorable reviews. I was very happy with the program, though I seem to remember that it also downloaded additional programs, but I was able to remove them. I felt that the program was easy to use, and I didn't have the software compatability issues that Turbo Tax developed. mizzbee

Seeking feedback on TurboTax

January 2003

I decided to try filing taxes electronically this year. Has anyone used TurboTax? Looking for any feedback on this process & different software options. Thanks! Rebecca

Yes, e-filing is definitely the way to go. I've used Intuit's web-based turbotax for the last few years. I prefer it to the versions you have to install on your PC/mac because the data survives hardware upgrades/failures. If you have values that carry over from year to year, they get automatically pulled in from last year. Of course you get soft copies of the returns (pdf files) that you can print.

Also, web turbotax is (or was) cheaper than the conventional software package.

I've not had great results with the integration with financial institutions. These are supposed to allow you to import your taxable data (interest, dividends) into the tax software, but this usually involves an extra set of passwords (different from those you might actually use at the institution's own web site), and so I just enter the data by hand. Joe Taxpayer

The last couple of years I filed using Turbo Tax through Fidelity. If you have a Fidelity account, a special price was offered for turbo tzx. The info. is stored electronically on a server somewhere, and one selects a password for accessing. Recently a technology-savy friend of mine told me he would never e-file and thinks it is foolish. Maybe someone in the network can speak to the risks? e-filer
I love Turbo Tax. I use it for my personal business and home taxes. I've been using it for the past couple of years and I find it easy to use and very informative. I have learned more from doing my own taxes about how to save money than from any accountant I've used. And the price can't be beat. In fact, I've just returned home from purchasing the 2002 edition. The only problem I've had is that I just tried to refinance and I'm doing a stated income loan. Because I'm self-employed they needed an accountant to verify my self-employment for the past two years. So this has been somewhat of a pain -- somehow the bank doesn't accept that I do my own taxes.

Last year I did e-filing, also an amazing process. I had no problems and it was almost too easy. I couldn't believe I was doing something that involved the United States government. It costs additional money to file electronically, but saved the hassle of printing and going to the post office. I've also heard you have less of a chance of being audited. But that is hearsay. Be sure you have a good connection -- dsl or cable modem -- if you want to file electronically. And install a firewall on your computer that is current. I don't think I would do it if I had a dial up connection. Also, be sure to continually download the tax updates, because they keep updating the software. Good Luck. turbo tax fan

I've used Turbo Tax since 1998 and have been very happy with the program. I ''E-filed'' my taxes last year and I swear to God my State tax return arrived in my mailbox three days later. It only takes me about an hour to do my taxes with this program. Granted, my returns are very simple. But I imagine the level of ''Hand-holding'' and easy to find information provided by this software continues on through very complex returns. Check it out! Julie
I have used turbotax for years, and have e-filed for about the last 3 years. I have been really happy with it. My husband runs two businesses, each with a different corporate structure, and I have worked in various ways- employee, independent contractor, and combination of the two. The program talks me right through how to handle the situations. It also gives me information on how to arrange things to reduce taxes as much as possible. I used to use a CPA, and never used to get as specific advice as I get from turbotax. turbotax fan
From: Linda (2/99)

Re tax programs: TurboTax or MacIntax (same thing for PC/Mac) is great, fast, easy. Allows you to skip over stuff that doesn't apply to you. You can go thru it in two ways - one, using the regular tax forms or, two, the preferred method, letting it ask you questions. It then incorporates your answers wherever they go. No more chasing around from Line This on Form That! It also prompts you to think of deductions, etc., you might otherwise miss and points out inconsistency. Tells you in a summary what items on your return might trigger an audit. I'm sold on this product, and the nice thing is that they really improve it from year to year. You can check last-minute changes/get addl forms online. It also transfers all data to your state return and prepares it for you, but you have to pay extra for the state program, and you might easily just do this by hand. I'd use this program for the simplest or the most complex returns. ALMOST makes doing your tax a game. My one caveat: don't wait til the last minute. The printing part can take a long time. Last year my admittedly complicated return took 24 hours to print!

From: Linda (2/99)

I've used turbo-tax for years. Although I also use Quicken I don't link the two together. We own a house and are in a couple of partnerships. We lost the house in the Oakland fire and had some tax consequences with that. My husband had his own business for a while and that made things even more complicated. The accountant would give us the business things to put into our personal return; I would then generate it and he would double check it. He never found a problem with what I had done.