Tax prep software or online?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ckuttner, Feb 4, 2019.

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  1. ckuttner macrumors member

    ckuttner

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    Apr 22, 2015
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #1
    I have a MacBook Pro (late 2015) running Mojave.

    I used TurboTax (formerly MacInTax) but dropped it when they weren’t compatible with my old MacBook’s OS, and switched to H&R Block’s software, which has worked fine for the past 2-3 years for me.

    Now, I’m faced with a lot more choices: TurboTax or H&R Block’s Mac apps, or using either of them online; there are other options such as TaxCut, but I like the support I get from the big guys, as I have a complex return. I like the idea of not using up space on my MacBook’s SSD, but for comparison—this is all approximate, based on my recall:

    Turbotax online (mine is complex, plus I have a state) $100 or so
    H&R Block online. $90
    Turbotax download $75
    H&R Block disc $53 (darn, it was $45 yesterday on Amazon) or $54 download
    (Oh, and my bank, Key, offers TaxCut for free if I agree to let them have all the info so they can sell me services. No way!)

    I care less about the $50 or so difference in price as in how well these work, how good support is, etc.

    So would you put the software on your MacBook or go online? Preferred company?
    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Zxxv macrumors 68040

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    UK
    #2
    Personally I don’t like the idea of using an online service for taxes where all my personal data is in someone else’s hands.
     
  3. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    #3
    I used to use Turbo Tax Online, but a few years ago switched to the retail software.

    I have used it for 2018, but have noticed that certain things seem more complex then I remember it being before.
     
  4. ftaok macrumors 603

    ftaok

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    East Coast
    #4
    Here's my opinion.

    If your taxes aren't very complex, then just do it by hand. The math is just arithmetic and not that difficult.

    If your taxes are complex, then hire a CPA.

    I guess if there are cases in the middle (I do realize that not everyone has the same level of math skills, so the middle will vary), then software could be helpful. I would rather use software vs. online, only because I wouldn't trust my data on a server.
     
  5. chscag macrumors 68030

    chscag

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    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    #5
    My return is simple so I use H&R Block Basic, $15.95 at Staples for the CD which has both the Mac and PC versions. I would never do my taxes on line. Can you imagine someone getting hold of your SSANs and all other personal info? :eek:
     
  6. BasicGreatGuy Contributor

    BasicGreatGuy

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    In the middle of several books.
  7. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #7
    Same here. It also does a good job of importing your prior year return and using much of that to complete the current year return for you (assuming nothing has changed).
     
  8. Plutonius, Feb 5, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019

    Plutonius macrumors 604

    Plutonius

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    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    #8
    I have always used H&R Block so I can't say anything about TurboTax. I don't own a business, rent property or have deductions for self employment so I got the Deluxe version download (for capital gains / loses) and I paid $34.97 at Amazon. Check if you can use H&R Block Deluxe instead of the more expensive version. Note - I see the Mac download of H&R Block Deluxe is only $25.00 at Amazon now.

    edit: Here is a comparison chart for the different H&R Block versions.

    I had been using it online for awhile until I realized the download was cheaper and it included the state form (NH has an interest and dividends income tax).

    I have no issues with it except it wants me to pay taxes :).

    --- Post Merged, Feb 5, 2019 ---
    H&R Block does the same. It will also connect to financial institutions if you desire and automatically import your dividends and capital gains.

    I'm assuming that most of the tax preparation software is similar now.
     
  9. HenryAZ macrumors 6502a

    HenryAZ

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    Jan 9, 2010
    Location:
    South Congress AZ
    #9
    I use the TurboTax app, and I run it in a macOS Virtual Machine. Since my VM's are stored on an external disk, this doesn't clutter up my internal boot drive. When done, I store the results in my Documents folder on my boot drive (the TT return file and PDF copies of my returns).
     
  10. ckuttner thread starter macrumors member

    ckuttner

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2015
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #10
    Thanks, all. I'll need to move forward, likely will use H&R Block software.

    Some 35 years or so ago, my CPA told me he didn't like doing taxes and sent me to MacInTax, which became Turbotax. I used it for many years, more recently H&R Block. Both are good.

    I have a pretty complex situation, as a semi-retired physician in a partnership practice, and H&R Block's tech support helped me realize last year that I needed to upgrade to Premium. They let me download it for just the difference in price between that and the lesser version I used.
     
  11. cmwade77 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    #11
    I have used TurboTax online for several years now and here is why:
    1. With the download, you have to keep downloading whenever there are updates from the IRS, etc., with the online version it always is up to date.
    2. When you have to go back to a previous years taxes, the online version just handles it, when i had used the download version you had to then have that version installed on your system. This doesn't sound like a big deal, until you need to access the taxes from a year that will not run on your current computer.
    3. Everything is available from any computer, phone, etc. that I am willing to log in with.
     
  12. ckuttner thread starter macrumors member

    ckuttner

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    Apr 22, 2015
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    Portland, OR
  13. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #13
    As I mentioned I have been using the downloadable version, but you have me interested in trying the online version next year. Does the online version work pretty much the same and does it have all the same features? Any downside you can think of using the online version?
     
  14. chscag macrumors 68030

    chscag

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    #14
    Yes. How reliable is Intuit on protecting your data from hackers or other nefarious attacks? I have used on line tax preparation in the past but no longer have faith that my personal data and information would be safe. In fairness, I suppose you could say the same thing about how the IRS is protecting your returns from hackers.
     
  15. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #15
    Good point...
     
  16. NoBoMac, Feb 8, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019

    NoBoMac macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    #16
    Re: online TurboTax: will add that if doing more than one return, each return will be a separate fee vs up to five returns with download. State return is an additional $39.99 per state. Can't just do Federal return: TT locks your tax file until you buy a state version (ie. can't get a non-watermarked print-out, can't eFile).

    Been a while, but seem to recall that unless you save your tax file to a computer after done filing, TT's "vault" option will lock your previous year(s) until you pay for uplift to access the old file(s) (but that might just be the 1040EZ/free product vs the more expensive products that might allow access to the old file).

    EDIT: looks like this year, TT is no longer locking previous year's return for import from their vault, so, step forward in that regard. But still wonder about getting a PDF copy of one's return a year or two down the road when needed (ie. is that still locked down; TT is sneaky with the additional fees).
     

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