So it’s that time of year that I hate (tax time), but luckily it’s always followed by the time of year I love (NBA playoffs). We had our small-business taxes done by Ann over at Bayley Davis, but I decided to give it a try for my own taxes again. I was mostly satisfied with the online version of TurboTax last year, but this year I thought I’d try some of the others. After all, H&R Block was running millions of web ads for TaxCut (including on our site Menuism) so they must have a somewhat decent product to spend all that advertising. John mentioned that he’s been pleased with TaxAct in the past.
Here are my pre-trial thoughts:
- TaxCut – So much advertising, it better be good. Anyways, “you got people” right? I used the brick and mortar H&R block service in the past and was not too impressed with it since the people didn’t seem too great and it was expensive. But, a few years has passed and they’re pushing the consumer side more so I figured it should be usable. Also, TaxCut is cheaper than TurboTax so that’s another plus.
- TaxAct – The cheapest one out there. You can even do your federal for free!
- TurboTax – Tried and true. TurboTax is the priciest one out there.
My intention in the beginning was not to try all of the tax services. I was pretty intent on using TaxCut this year since I had also read some other positive reviews. Here’s what happened.
- Started using TaxCut. All is good so far. They have a nice clean interface and it’s very wizard-driven. They try to break things up in the small simple chunks and questions. Entered in my W2 from HP and K1 for Two-Bit.
- Things get complicating. I get to another K1 I have for a fund I’m invested in that’s structured as a partnership. It has some special code on one of the lines. TaxCut is asking for what codes there are, so I figure it must handle it. I put in the code and hit Next. Here’s basically what it tells me (my words, not theirs – it transferred my account to the “online office” service so I can’t get back to the do-it-yourself screen):
- TaxCut doesn’t handle that particular code!
- If you want to continue your taxes, we’ll have to transfer you to your nearest H&R Block office.
- If you don’t do this and try to complete your taxes, they will be incomplete (and bad for you).
In my opinion, the extra money you pay for TurboTax shows. It’s an impressive web app that’s quite easy to use and navigate. The scenario and question driven wizards make you feel like everything is covered and the electronic downloads of tax forms really help streamline the number entry process.
TaxCut.com needs more work to compete head-to-head with TurboTax. It’s nice that “you got people”, but there are sometimes when I’d rather just do things myself.
TaxAct seems to be a great solution for those that have simple tax situations and even better for those who don’t have to file state taxes.
There’s my 2 cents on taxes.Â What did you use this year?
Happy itemized deducting!