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Software The Almighty Buck

What Tax Software Do You Use? 202

Posted by Cliff
from the it's-about-that-time-again dept.
r_jensen11 asks: "I know this topic has been asked at least once before, but seeing as how 6 years have passed, I figured the question is due again. It's about that time of the year again when we find out how much we owe Uncle Sam (or as in my case, how much Uncle Sam owes me). Software has changed drastically in the past 6 years, since the previous query I found on Slashdot, as well as many tax rules. Does anyone here use tax software other than TurboTax and TaxCut? I know that there are also online forms I can fill out, but which ones are accessible to people that use OSes other than Windows and Mac OS X? I'd preferably use a program that I can use off-line and store my information locally instead of using eforms, but if I have to resort to eforms, which ones should I investigate and which ones should I stay far away from?"
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What Tax Software Do You Use?

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  • i'm old school (Score:3, Insightful)

    by east coast (590680) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:08AM (#17691984)
    It's still pen and paper for me, just like d&d.
    • me too (Score:5, Interesting)

      by twitter (104583) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @01:16AM (#17692458) Homepage Journal

      It's still pen and paper for me

      Sure, but it's easier to get the forms with a browser and KPDF than it is to drive to the library. Also, it's easier to add the stuff up with gnumeric than it is to use a calculator. After that, the check's in the mail.

      Of course, all of it's a stupid curse. Uncle Sam knows exactly what you made and has the resources to present it to you over the web. Taxes should be as easy as going to a web site and choosing between "I agree" and "I have something else to report" then doing it.

      I'm going to continue to use paper as long as Uncle Sam does, mostly because the programs made to do taxes have proved themselves less than trustworthy.

      • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
        Of course, all of it's a stupid curse. Uncle Sam knows exactly what you made and has the resources to present it to you over the web.

        Not really, especially if you're a small business owner (like me) who accepts payment from clients. Some of the payments are income, others are reimbursements for expenses and purchases of equipment. Unless you're just working for wages and don't qualify for any credits and deductions, it isn't really that simple.

        -b.

      • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
        After that, the check's in the mail.

        If you owe less than 10% of your total year's liability or less than $1000 on April 15, you don't get any penalties assessed for late payment. If you can make sure to adhere to those limits, it's better to underpay a bit during the year and send a final (small) payment on April 15 rather than getting a check back. Why give them an interest-free loan for 3 months?

        -b.

  • H & R Block (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Have an accountant do your taxes. They're cross platform, less error prone, and in many cases charge about the same price as popular tax prep software costs.
    • Re:H & R Block (Score:4, Informative)

      by alshithead (981606) * on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:25AM (#17692108)
      "Have an accountant do your taxes. They're cross platform, less error prone, and in many cases charge about the same price as popular tax prep software costs."

      As complicated as the US tax code is, this is the BEST advice for anyone above the poverty level. It is also why our tax code will not be reformed. There are way too many accountants out there who make too much money on handling taxes, and they support the candidates who will keep the status quo. Tax reform is very much needed in the US. I lean towards a flat tax or national sales tax.
      • As complicated as the US tax code is, this is the BEST advice for anyone above the poverty level.

        The qualifier "for anyone above poverty level" applies especially to H&R Block. For anyone needing more, a qualified tax accountant is often the better choice.

        The analogy here is that an H&R Block preparer is like a poorly trained Windows sysadmin who subscribes to the policy of locking down users in the interests of job security. Or better, yet, a Help Desk employee who's memorised the phrase, "That c
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          As a former employee there, I can say Block does not compete on price. They compete by being able to front refunds so people can walk out with parts of their refund.

          The skill level of Block is a little erratic, but then there are scores of "1 W2" returns that are simply too cut and dried to make any serious money for the top Accountants. Block usually does a passable job on these.

          I believe the tax code is not deliberately complex to suit the accountants; some of us get grumpy at being dragged into obscure s
      • Re:H & R Block (Score:4, Interesting)

        by tchdab1 (164848) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @02:16PM (#17696180) Homepage
        Having an accountant do my taxes is great for getting my taxes done this year I agree. But it doesn't teach me enough about the process to help me make decisions throughout the following year.
        Doing it myself keeps me informed of what is being taxed and how.
        Having a program helps reduce the time it takes to enter the data and make the calculations and find help and forms when I need them. I can get into it as much as I need to (which you might say is true for an accountant too), I have all the records and processes when I need to consult them later to see what the tax implications are of doing or not doing something, etc.
        Plus to use an accountant I have to assemble all my documentation myself anyway (all the taxable records) which is a major part of the tax effort - once I got all my papers the rest is not so bad.

        Given that, I use one of the major programs, and I don't believe it matters much which you use.
        • I'm getting to where I don't use any of the major tax programs because they cop a patronizing attitude "taxes are very very VERY complicated. You NEED tax preparation software" and then try to show they're right by driving you all over the tax code with those "interviews", all the while trumpeting how easy their fantastic linear interview process is making it, and nagging you to upgrade to their premium software. The user doesn't chose what data to enter or what order to enter it in, the tax program choos

      • by winwar (114053)
        "As complicated as the US tax code is, this is the BEST advice for anyone above the poverty level."

        Only if the time saved is worth the money spent. Or if you really have a complicated return (business owner for instance). Or are a blithering idiot.

        Tens of million of people can fill out the 1040 form and be done with it faster than getting the info to the preparer. Add this to the fact that two preparers will likely get different answers for the same dataset if it has any significant complexity....

        If you hav
    • ...Ex-Lax. [lawyers.com]

      It's better to use real accountants.
    • Re:H & R Block (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker@gmail. c o m> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @01:04AM (#17692382) Journal
      Note!!! H&R block people are NOT accountants!! Sure they have accountants for dealing with buisnesses. But the people who the average joe tax return at H&R block are not accountants and are just trained to fill out the same form you would if you went to their online website...

      In Florida the CPA association filed a advertising complaint against H&R block because several of their commercials implied their people were better than accountants "We'll catch the refunds that your accountant missed" and crap.

    • by Zadaz (950521)
      Wish I hadn't burned my mod points on trolls. This was my first thought. If you're filling out anything more complex than an EZ form, have a human do it. It will pay for its self.

      Maybe not H&R Block, but a trained professional.

      However I've had good luck with H&R. Go in the off season and you'll find actual accountants who are full-time employees. Go in April and you'll find it almost all temp data-entry people.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by XxtraLarGe (551297)
        I have an even better method. We do a 1040. We had H&R Block do our taxes once. Now I use Turbo Tax online. The nice thing about Turbo Tax is that you can do your taxes without paying until you actually file. I try to duplicate the result myself using the forms, following what H & R did. If I come up with the same number, I just use my form (it's happened the last two years now), and don't pay Turbo Tax to file. It's a great way to verify your results. If in the event Turbo Tax comes up with a be
    • by ericdano (113424)
      Yup. I have my accountant, Sara, do it for me. Costs about $100, but it is well worth it. Another thing is to keep track of your money and expenses. Having everything on Quicken makes it a breeze to print, and then mail off the stuff to her when it is tax time.
    • by mspohr (589790)
      You have an accountant that charges $29.00 ?!!
    • Honestly, at H&R Block and places like that, a lot of the taxes aren't done by accountants. THey take classes and all, but one of my friends did it and she said that they basically use the same software that H&R Block sells to consumers. If you get something complicated then you get bumped up to a full time employee, but for the basic tax returns there isn't much difference between using H&R Block's software and having H&R Block do it for you.
    • I agree with what you say about having an accountant do your taxes, but I disagree with the notion that H&R Block even approaches a real accountant's quality.

      A couple of years ago I cheaped out and went with H&R instead of a real accountant. Eight months later the IRS notifies me that they screwed it up and I owe an additional $750. Well, good thing I paid extra for the goof proof insurance that they advertise on TV -- the stuff where H&R promises to go with you to the audit and pay for the mo
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      They're cross platform, less error prone, and in many cases charge about the same price as popular tax prep software costs.

      Not everyone uses tax prep software or needs to - I just spend some time every year and calculate my taxes by hand and using a spreadsheet. I keep all paper receipts for deductions and bank statements to prove earning in case of an audit. And signing off on something an accountant does for you without evaluating it carefully isn't a great option anyway since you might be liable for

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:11AM (#17692016)
    Print the forms, get a calculator, and do the math....whats the problem?
    • What's the problem???? If you do anything more than endorse 26 paychecks, fill out a W2 and a 1040ez, there are lots of problems.

      Once you get past the surface, the tax laws are not clear. Many of them use phrases like "reasonable proof" or "adequate documentation", or doing something by "industry standards", or "commonly accepted methods". You have to be an experienced accountant to have some idea what those phrases mean, and that meaning may change depending on which IRS agent you talk to.
      This, IMHO,
      • It's pretty clear - paying taxes is required by law.

        Don't sidetrack down those alleys based on 1957 cases talking about "voluntary taxes"; that's a deliberate mis-interpretation out of context of the word "voluntary".

        The basic idea is that people submit their information of their own accord; the IRS does not send "door-to-door" agents.

      • by winwar (114053)
        "Once you get past the surface, the tax laws are not clear. Many of them use phrases like "reasonable proof" or "adequate documentation", or doing something by "industry standards", or "commonly accepted methods". You have to be an experienced accountant to have some idea what those phrases mean, and that meaning may change depending on which IRS agent you talk to."

        Those phrases are perfectly clear. If they aren't then you shouldn't be taking the deduction (and probably don't have sufficient documentation t
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TaoPhoenix (980487)
      I sincerely hope you're kidding.

      Print the Forms, Get a Calculator and...

      Figure out the partial reductions on child-benefits that interact with other parts of the code;

      Disover that when you moved from one state to another you end up with Dual Status state returns;

      You decided it would be fun to rent that side building next to your house to a guy needing a room, and now you have to figure out the depreciation.

      Sorry; software is where Taxes are today. TaxAct, being free as in Beer, is a strong force on the scen
    • by JimBobJoe (2758)
      Print the forms, get a calculator, and do the math....whats the problem?

      I made $7000 last year gross income and Turbotax printed nearly 16 pages of various forms. Of course, the reason for that is because I work 1099 jobs, so I become a mini-little business and quite a lot of things become deducting-eligible. TurboTax did in about 1 1/2 hr what I couldn't do with days of research into the awesome complexities of Schedule C.
  • TurboTax online (Score:3, Informative)

    by cmeans (81143) <cmeans&intfar,com> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:13AM (#17692024) Homepage Journal
    As I recall it worked equally well with Firefox as IE last year. We've used it every year for the past 4 years or more. I'm not sure what a standalone program might do for us over the online offering. My returns are simple, but my wife has to deal with Schedule C, and investment stuff, it's served us well, as far as I can tell.
    • Re:TurboTax online (Score:5, Informative)

      by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @01:01AM (#17692362) Homepage Journal
      TurboTax online

      I think it's the same service (provided by Intuit), but other students or such like myself who have an AGI of $27,000 or less can go to taxfreedom.com [taxfreedom.com] and do their federal taxes online for free. The program this year is actually quite good from both a technical and interface point of view.

      For state income, some states let you do free filing online via their own websites (like UT [utah.gov]), but AL, AR, AZ, GA, ID, IA, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NY, ND, NC, OK, OR, RI, VT, and WV are all members of the Free File Alliance, and you can usually file taxes in these states for free online.

      I'm a poor student, so my only goal is to get my refund back as fast as possible. Granted, my return is simple, but it took only 6 days last year from submission to direct deposit. In any case, I've found that there's no reason not to file online, especially if it's free.
      • by horatio (127595)
        Ohio [ohio.gov] also provides a free and mostly painless site to file state taxes.
      • I don't know about the other states, but in MO, "file online for free" means "download a PDF-that-looks-like-a-tax-form-and-is-every-bit-as -confusing-and-non-explanatory-as-the-real-thing-b ut-it-does-the-calculations-as-you-fill-in-the-bla nks-and-generates-a-bar-code-when-you-print, then mail it via snail mail". So it's a bit of a misnomer.
      • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
        I'm a poor student, so my only goal is to get my refund back as fast as possible.

        Don't get a refund. Adjust your allowances on your withholding forms so that you'll owe 10% of your total taxes or less than $1000 on April 15. Under either of those conditions, you don't pay penalties. To hell with giving the government an interest-free loan for 3 months (actually the best part of a year)...

        -b.

  • taxact (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:13AM (#17692032)
    taxact.com

    already done and efiled - no charge if you go directly to their site. DO NOT visit the IRS site first or you will pick up a cookie which will make them try to charge you for efiling if your AGI is above $52k regardless of how you actually enter the taxact site later.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rgbscan (321794)
      Same here. taxact all the way. I use the d/l'd version though. I just feel better about having my tax info stored locally.
    • by fredklein (532096)
      Yup- Taxact.

      I've already filed! And with Direct Deposit, I'm looking to get my refund in just a few more days!
    • by eggoeater (704775)
      I third that.

      On line is the way to go vs. software.
      It automatically imports all your personal information from last year so you don't have to enter info on your family again. It will also give you a PDF of all your forms filled out.

      Also, I usually do my taxes on paper and then do them on line, just so I know what to expect.
      I'm a fairly smart guy but it seems EVERY YEAR the TaxAct web site comes up with a slightly different
      number than I did on the form and I can always trace it back to a mistake I ma
  • by Anonymous Coward
    A good accountant will do your taxes for you.

    A great accountant will have a tax loophole named after him/her.
  • by MerlynEmrys67 (583469) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:18AM (#17692062)
    That Uncle Sam returning that nice interest free loan you have given them by over witholding is "Giving you money back". Biggest fallacy in the book, have the standard tax tables overwithold - then make people think "Gee, the government is giving me money - they are so nice".

    If you are getting a large refund - look into talking to an accountant that can tell you how many deductions you REALLY need to be closer to break even. My goal is to hit somewhere between a 100 dollar refund to paying 500 dollars. I can afford 500 dollars, and I'd just assume be making the interest while the money sits in my bank account before giving it to the Man.

    But PLEASE don't take my advise - talk to an accountant (IANAA) to find out what is correct for you

    • That Uncle Sam returning that nice interest free loan you have given them by over witholding is "Giving you money back". Biggest fallacy in the book, have the standard tax tables overwithold - then make people think "Gee, the government is giving me money - they are so nice".
      If you are getting a large refund - look into talking to an accountant that can tell you how many deductions you REALLY need to be closer to break even. My goal is to hit somewhere between a 100 dollar refund to paying 500 dollars. I ca

      • I don't even begin to know where to answer this one....
        Lets start with 60 being a 12% annual rate of return on 500 dollars
        Lets move to the government only has your money on average for 6 months - doubling your annual rate of return
        Lets just say that I don't plan on earning 10% in the market - some years I've done 25%, I've had a few years of "bad luck" in the market recently
        Lets just say the 25 dollars I'd expect to earn in interest on that refund can keep me in WoW for a bit over two months
      • by ximenes (10)
        Consider that it is not the interest that one could earn on the hypothetical $500 rebate but rather the rebate itself that is in question here. If I received that money up-front in my paychecks, I could potentially avoid additional use (and accumulation of fees) with credit cards, make some purchases earlier or at all, and have a better idea of my available funds for budgeting purposes rather than receiving this windfall later on.

        A lot of people have very simple taxes: one paycheck, one residence, no real p
    • HEHE, cept if you have kids, you now get $1000 bucks per kid back even if you didn't pay that $1000 in. Getting $2k back more than I paid this year :)

      Yea I really am that poor.. :)
    • by parliboy (233658)
      Amen. Last year, some breaks I wasn't expecting (didn't consider moving deduction at the time) pushed my refund to about $150. This year, I'm estimating $15 in refund. And that's only because the telephone excise credit swings it around from me owing them $15. Good times, good times.
    • A bigger falacy. (Score:5, Informative)

      by twitter (104583) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @01:22AM (#17692492) Homepage Journal

      That Uncle Sam returning that nice interest free loan you have given them by over witholding is "Giving you money back". Biggest fallacy in the book ...

      The biggest fallacy in the book is that fiat currency has an intrinsic value. Look up Alan Greenspan's little essay on the gold standard, and realize that you are not free without a secure store of value. The withholdings are a time consuming but insignificant part of the bigger scam.

      • What are you talking about? Yeah, the value of fiat currency floats. Yeah, the government uses that to mess with the economy. It's called monetary policy. What's your point?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jb.hl.com (782137)
          I think his point is, rather, that if your currency is not backed by something of value (e.g gold) and then the value of it floats around, it is far too easy to have that value withheld from you in an instant, as you actually don't own anything except paper banknotes.

          Not an unreasonable point, if that IS what he's getting at.
          • by winwar (114053)
            "I think his point is, rather, that if your currency is not backed by something of value (e.g gold) and then the value of it floats around, it is far too easy to have that value withheld from you in an instant, as you actually don't own anything except paper banknotes.

            Not an unreasonable point, if that IS what he's getting at."

            Debatable. Gold has value for the same reason paper money has value. People value gold. While gold is finite, it isn't very rare-we could destroy the value of gold if we desired. Pape
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by poopdeville (841677)
        The biggest fallacy in the book is thinking that gold has any intrinsic value outside of its industrial uses. And copper alloys are superior for most applications.

        The price of gold is just as arbitrary as the 'price' of a dollar. Having no intrinsic value means that extrinsic value -- price -- is its only value.
        • by twitter (104583)

          The biggest fallacy in the book is thinking that gold has any intrinsic value outside of its industrial uses. The price of gold is just as arbitrary as the 'price' of a dollar. Having no intrinsic value means that extrinsic value -- price -- is its only value.

          The problem that Mr. Greenspan noted forty years ago is that you are not free to chose your store of value. When people are free to chose, government has no choice but to follow. Fiat currency only has value because you are not free to chose anot

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by StikyPad (445176)
        Backed vs. fiat currency is all just semantics. In either case, the government controls the supply. If a "backed" currency economy collapsed, do you really think the government would let you trade in your currency for whatever it's backed against? Of course not.

        Things are, and have always been, worth what someone is willing to pay for them, and that includes currency. It is impossible to tie currency to an actual standard, because no single thing has the same worth to every person, including gold. Sinc
    • I would think people know that already. Isn't the general rule to pay 90% of your taxes and owe 10% which could be sitting in a saving account earning interest?

      Some people take the safe approach out of fear.

      On a side note, the burden of income taxes affects us all. If the government is by the people, for the people, and of the people, then why don't we just have them change it to something less regressive? A few ideas...

      1. A national sales tax, but not on the essentials. Might as well make used items exempt
      • by drsquare (530038)

        1. A national sales tax, but not on the essentials. Might as well make used items exempt too thus allowing the poor to avoid paying it.

        You want a less regressive tax, then propose a more regressive tax? Under your scheme a billionaire could live a normal lifestyle and not pay any tax!

        3. A gross wealth income tax. Large exemption bracket to exempt a lot of people. Own more than $5 million in property total and you hit the first bracket that has a rate greater than 0%. Bill Gates would be at the highest brack

        • "Seems like a good way to drive rich people abroad so there'd be no money coming into the government at all. Then the poor would have to pay their own way."

          That might work if they plan on living in a third-world country, but most modern countries don't allow foreigners to become residents without following strict requirements. You can't just buy your way in.
          • In most developed countries, it's easy to immigrate if you promise to drop a huge amount of money to start a local business thereby creating taxable income and new jobs.
        • by Azghoul (25786)
          Billionaires don't buy anything? Huh, who knew?
        • It is a progressive tax, not a regressive tax. I don't know why you're trying to claim otherwise.
    • by Trogre (513942)
      I can afford 500 dollars, and I'd just assume be making the interest while the money sits in my bank account before giving it to the Man.

      That's just as soon, you'd just as soon be making the interest while the money sits in your bank account before giving it to the Man.
  • by Noksagt (69097) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:30AM (#17692142) Homepage
    I know this topic has been asked at least once before, but seeing as how 6 years have passed, I figured the question is due again.
    It has been answered several times in the past couple years:
    • This is the tech industry. Things tend to change. Perhaps there are new programs/vendors out?

      I personally have used quicktaxweb.ca (canadian) for the last few years, but this year i bought the desktop app because my household plans to file more than 1 over the free filing limit.
  • Excel 1040 (Score:2, Informative)

    by cxbrx (737647)
    Google Excel 1040 [mchsi.com]. It works for me. I blew off Intuit after their activation debacle [slashdot.org]. That and the fact that Office Despot consistently has lower prices for Intuit's products than Intuit's website. After Intuit, H&R Block's product seemed ok.
  • FreeFile (Score:5, Informative)

    by Noksagt (69097) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:34AM (#17692168) Homepage
    Over two thirds of tax payers can file online for free. The IRS runs Free File [irs.gov], which helps you to select a service to file through.

    Most of these were browser and OS agnostic last year & a good choice for those with AGIs low enough.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 20, 2007 @02:04AM (#17692666)
      This is part of a negotiated settlement between the IRS and for-profit tax preparation companies during the Clinton years. It, after all, makes more sense for the IRS to offer free software for the public to encourage everyone to file electronically and standardize everything, etc. More efficent for the IRS, and therefore you. But that would hurt some big companies (I'm sure you can intuit whom I mean). Thus a deal was struck a while back, which as far as I know is not promoted/advertised by the tax-prep software companies.

      The result is that people who make less than a certain amount (Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $52,000 or less) are entitled to free software by the "Free File Alliance, LLC" (ie, the tax software industry). During the Bush administration, the # of people who has qualified for this has gone down every year...

      The government believes that private industry, given its established expertise and experience in the field of electronic tax preparation, has a proven track record in providing the best technology and services available. In addition, the government believes a partnership with private industry will: provide taxpayers with higher quality services by using the existing expertise of the private sector; maximize consumer choice; promote competition within the marketplace; and meet objectives in the least costly manner to taxpayers.

      FYI.
  • by TheLink (130905) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @12:46AM (#17692278) Journal
    That there's a market for tax software in the USA.

    Are there other countries where such software would be worth it?

    In the country I live in the income tax system seems simple enough that anyone who is too stupid to figure it out is unlikely to be making enough money to fall in the taxable bracket.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ColaMan (37550)
      You could live in a country that will supply you with free (not Free) software downloadable from the Tax Office website [ato.gov.au], which walks you through the whole process, step by step, asking reasonably easy questions with decent, context sensitive online help to boot.

      Then after establishing your bona-fides with them using details from a previous tax cheque/bill that was mailed to you, it all gets submitted online to them, with the option of a direct transfer into a bank account of your choice once it's been proce
      • > You could live in a country that will supply you with free (not Free)
        > software...

        That is not free. It requires the purchase of a Microsoft operating system.
    • by Dunx (23729)
      What a very amusing conceit, that only the US could produce tax law baroque enough to require software to navigate!

      I know that the forms for UK tax returns are easier than US ones, but using software was still a better bet for me when I had to fill one in, especially since the online tool that the Inland Revenue supplied could not at the time deal with non-residents.

      I was going to start ranting about the US tax code, but this is not the time.
  • by svunt (916464) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @01:00AM (#17692358) Homepage Journal
    ...is a qualified tax accountant, which you can access via an online virtual community called OutDoors, which features amazing high res graphics and panoramic 3d first person perspectives. When you locate the tax accountant, he or she will upload your financial data at a staggering speed with his or her eyes and ears, and using the revolutionary HumanBrain processor, calculate the maximum refund available to you.

    It's quite a rush, get ready to ride the mongoose.
  • by seebs (15766)
    I used TaxAct last year. Haven't touched TurboTax in years --Intuit are fairly nasty and willful spammers, with a long history of abuses, spyware, and other charming traits. TaxCut was okay, but they ditched the Mac, so I had to go with something else anyway, and H&R Block is not one of my favorite companies; I'm sure they get taxes okay, but they don't understand computers or web pages very well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mspohr (589790)
      My TaxCut box for 2006 taxes sitting here on my desk says it works on the Mac and my friend installed it on his Mac so I don't think they've ditched the Mac.
    • I punted H&R Block's TaxCut last year. I had a 1098 form that didn't have my real estate taxes in block 4. The instructions in their "interview" said, that was OK, and they'd ask for it later. But they never did. As a result, their calculations had me paying an extra $1700 in taxes!

      I contacted their customer support with a very detailed and specific query:
      "When entering Mortgage Interest Statement Information, my 1098 doesn't have my real-estate taxes in block 4. I have a separate statement from the
  • My Web Browser (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Em Adespoton (792954) <slashdotonly.1.adespoton@spamgourmet.com> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @02:34AM (#17692804) Homepage Journal
    Title says it all. I have an account, log in once or twice a year, and file my taxes. I can do it wherever I am, on whatever computer is available, as long as it has internet access and a secure web browser. Back when I used software, I found I was always waiting for the software patches to come out, and they always came out AFTER most of the features of the software would have been usable (right near the end of filing time, instead of in January during planning time). Now, it's always up to date, and I can check in whenever I want to see where my registered savings and charitable contributions should be to maximize my return. Plus, such sites are generally free for people below a certain income level (and cheaper than tax software for people over that level).
  • If you know enough about what money you can include in which figures in the return to use tax software, you can go a step further, get the notes on how to fill in the return, and work it all out in a spreadsheet.

    (Disclaimer: I've only ever done UK tax returns this way, but the principle's the same...)
    • by leeward (313589)

      I'll have to agree with this (I'm in the US). I have been using OpenOffice Calc to handle all the bookkeeping and taxes for me and my small (1 person) business for about 6 years now. Of course, I can no longer blame mistakes on someone else.

  • I'm Canadian, but I just do it on the paper forms and phone it in.

    Are you tax forms really that complicated?
    • "Phone it in" says it all.

      We all agree 1 W2 is a snap. "Tax Forms" is PLURAL, and once you start getting plural forms, it tends to get *very* plural, very fast.

      Anyone who says "taxes are easy" simply hasn't performed the activities that tend to trigger the ugly wrinkles. Taxes beyond a certain point aren't allowed to be phoned in.
  • Taxman [pacificcoast.net] is what I've been using the last three years. It's free, and when you're done you just print off the necessary pages (no electronic filing, which the author says would cost him significant time and expense to implement due to red tape).

    Windows-only, unfortunately.

  • This year, I'm considering using an online place called Taxsoftware.com [taxsoftware.com] for our partnership and personal returns (I've gotten tired of paying a professional for this stuff). Taxsoftware seems to offer a relatively complete set of forms for both personal and business (e.g. 1065, 1120, etc.), including both U.S. federal and most states, JAVA-based platform-independent online system, and reasonable prices.

    But I haven't found reviews that give me a warm-fuzzy about trusting my data (and time) to the place n

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