I have been using Turbo Tax since 2004. Each year I enjoy going back and having my previous information already filled in for me and also having the ability to verify or make changes if we have moved or changed jobs.
I used Turbo Tax Deluxe, which cost $29.95, instead of $49.95. But I have to itemize.
This year, I was having a very hard time getting our taxes filed because I have to itemize on a 1040. With so many of my friends using all of the free software programs out there, even though our actual income qualified, since I receive so many 1099-MISC forms, I was forced to itemize.
Itemizing is where I started having problems.
For some reason, this year Turbo Tax didn't seem to guide me into the correct categories I needed when itemizing all of my business expenses. I had checked their community chat, which is a great tool to use. When I didn't find an exact question that related to what I needed, I could post a question and normally within 24 someone would reply. I did notice that many people were having problems with this year's Turbo Tax and started complaining and also posting that they were going to use other software programs out there. So, I too tried 2 other vendors, but kept going back to Turbo Tax. What I found with both H&R Block and TaxActOnline is that neither guided me into adding more than one 1099-MISC form. And when I say that for a good solid week I was back and forth between all 3 programs and really hoping that I could take advantage of a free software program, I found that Turbo Tax corrected the issue that many of us were having and once I went back into the software, it was guiding me right along.
The problem I had with H&R Block is that before I even had a chance to enter all of my expenses to offset my 1099-MISC income, it was ready for me to file and pay out over $1500 - well, that wasn't right, so I went back to Turbo Tax.Yes, I wasted a lot of time trying 3 software programs but it worked out great in the end. I got to try other vendors and went back to my tried and true.
What I like the most about Turbo Tax is their error and audit reports that you run before filing. And, if you don't understand a question and put the wrong figure into a box, the error scan will tell you the number is wrong and guides you into correcting it. My biggest problem was calculating my home office expenses and splitting it among the 3 jobs I do being self-employed.
Many people don't realize that if they earn over $600 and get a 1099-MISC form, that you are considered as being self-employed. It doesn't matter if that is the only time you'll get a form like that or not. Also, if you don't itemize on your 1040, you WILL end up paying the IRS. Unless you have a W-2 being filed and didn't have a lot of taxes taken out during the year. But for us, we need as much of our money during the year, so we always break even. But we do have to itemize.
The only frustrating thing for me and I am sure for many others like me is that we don't own property, stocks or have other deductions others may have. Also, we no longer have kids at home, so you can imagine that working on a 1099-MISC status can be very taxing - pardon the pun. But it is very stressful when itemizing and unless I was able to go to a Tax Advisor and pay hundreds of dollars, I had no choice but to do our taxes myself.
Turbo Tax has been great for our family. And this year I plan on getting Quicken, which will make filing so much easier next year. Since both programs are owned by Intuit, anything you put into Quicken can be automatically pulled into Turbo Tax, which will save me a TON of time and stress next time.
The other wonderful thing is that this year, Turbo Tax lowered the cost of their software. I never buy the actual CD in the store, I log in online, do the taxes and then pay before I e-file. Compared to last year where it cost us $99.95, this year is cost $29.95. So I was quite pleased.
In the end, finding software to do your taxes is important and also using software that will scan your return to check for errors or possible audits from the IRS is key. My sister tried something different a few years ago and found that she had all kinds of problems getting her refund after filing and she only files a 1040-EZ! So if you are not sure, check around with friends, check here on Shared Reviews and check your BBB to find out if any complaints were filed. The IRS has links to several free programs out there, but unfortunately for us, we weren't able to use them - unless I was willing to pay a couple thousand dollars by not itemizing.
Oh, and once you are finished you can save both a .pdf file of your taxes to your computer, print out your return and also save a copy that is read by Turbo Tax in future years. They also save your taxes within the secure online system. This has been a life saver for us because there is normally some time later in the year that I need to print our taxes out and can easily do this just by logging in from any computer and printing out what's needed.
The only hardware requirement you need is to have a computer.
In the end, I got our taxes filed last week and always have a complete sense of relaxation in knowing Turbo Tax has checked everything for me and walked me through in finding all of my allowed deductions and that they also fixed the issue many of us were having two weeks ago. That means more to me when a company will come in and fix their software after it's been released.