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Cheapest reliable tax filing software


Mephistopheles
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Can anyone recommend a website or software for filing taxes that is both cheap and reliable? I know Turbo Tax and H&R Block are both very good, but they are also on the more expensive side compared to some others. Problem is that there are so many recommended on the IRS site, so I thought I'd ask here for recommendations.

 

https://apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile/jsp/index.jsp?ck

 

Thanks

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If you are eligible, can't beat the IRS Free File:

 

https://www.irs.gov/uac/Free-File:-Do-Your-Federal-Taxes-for-Free

 

I did H&R block last year, it was solid. Turbotax before that was good.

 

It's under my impression that the free file just links you to a bunch of commercial filers such as TurboTax. They all seem to be free if you only have basics, but I obviously also have investment income hence I'll be paying either way. Also, for many of them only the Federal filing is free, not state.

 

I like TaxAct and I have been using it for the past few years.  I switched over from TurboTax but TT was much more expensive for me a few years ago.

 

I have heard good things about the H&R Block.

 

to Compare the 3:

http://thecollegeinvestor.com/15201/comparing-prices-turbotax-hr-block-tax-act/

 

I'll look into TaxAct; I googled it earlier and it has some awful reviews. I guess you get what you pay for.

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Adesigar probably posted this for fun, but I'll try to relate it to Mephistopheles' question:

 

Is the price really the decisive factor for choosing tax filing software? Isn't correctness, convenience, speed to complete the process, clarity of instructions, etc. much more important?

 

For anyone on CoBF, IMHO, the most important feature is the capability to painlessly and correctly slurp in your stock investment transactions from your financial providers. If I were you, I'd base my decision on this rather than on other things (like price). Although if you're a buy-and-hold-forever investor or invest only in tax deferred accounts, then perhaps this is not important to you.

 

I've only done taxes by hand and via Turbo Tax Online. I think TTO is OK with some caveats. You should specify your concrete situation if you want more precise suggestions. E.g.: are you self-employed, are you getting stock options, ESPP at work, are you investing in MLPs and need to file K1s, and so on.

 

----------------------------

Potentially off-topic: this year will be yet another step up for me in terms of tax filing complexity.

 

Last year the biggest hurdle was ESPP filing - TurboTax online does not provide good explanations on how to fill this. I had to Bing/Google for suggestions. I found http://thefinancebuff.com/ and I very strongly recommend the site for various topics including tax related ( I have no affiliation with the author except for getting help from him for my questions ).

 

This year, I have IB account - and I seem to have heard that TurboTax Online does not import IB transactions - can anyone confirm or deny this? This would be very helpful.

 

Also I have Husband-and-Wife Sole Proprietorship to report this year. Presumably Turbo Tax handles this.

 

I wonder how much longer I can get through without a CPA. :) (Not that CPA guarantees great filling. My mother had someone fill her trivial 1040EZ and they messed it up. I had to redo it with TT instead...)

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I've used Tax Act for 3 years now and it does a great job. I have to keep income, side income, wife's income, rental property, and investments straight. I can see some people getting annoyed with Tax Act because to review inputs you have to review the questions it asks. As long as you make good use of bookmarks in the program it is really easy to navigate. I think Turbo Tax is the most idiot proof software, but if you are intelligent and don't want to spend $80 on a one and done piece of software, Tax Act will work just fine. 

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Adesigar probably posted this for fun, but I'll try to relate it to Mephistopheles' question:

 

Is the price really the decisive factor for choosing tax filing software? Isn't correctness, convenience, speed to complete the process, clarity of instructions, etc. much more important?

 

For anyone on CoBF, IMHO, the most important feature is the capability to painlessly and correctly slurp in your stock investment transactions from your financial providers. If I were you, I'd base my decision on this rather than on other things (like price). Although if you're a buy-and-hold-forever investor or invest only in tax deferred accounts, then perhaps this is not important to you.

 

+1

 

I have used H&R for years and you can get the deluxe version very cheap (<$10). However, it doesn't import the trade automatically so it's time consuming to figure out all the investment gain/loss, etc. Last year I found issues in H&R due to my flexible spending accounts so you can't rely on tax software 100%.

 

Before H&R I used a CPA, which I don't recommend since unless he/she is very familiar with your situation, you'll still need to fill out a lot questionnaire. My CPA ended up merely as a data entry person and last time I did tax with her I found many errors in my filing.

 

I'm thinking about TurboTax this year since I also set up an investment adviser LLC to handle my families' investment, etc. I would appreciate suggestions regarding Turbo Tax.

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I switched to TaxAct a few years ago and have generally been very pleased vs Turbotax and would highly recommend it.  I think you can try it for free.  It can handle some complexity for me.  Turbotax seemed like they were price gouging. 

 

Jurgis had a great point about the stock data downloading which is not important to me.

 

 

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Adesigar probably posted this for fun, but I'll try to relate it to Mephistopheles' question:

 

Is the price really the decisive factor for choosing tax filing software? Isn't correctness, convenience, speed to complete the process, clarity of instructions, etc. much more important?

 

For anyone on CoBF, IMHO, the most important feature is the capability to painlessly and correctly slurp in your stock investment transactions from your financial providers. If I were you, I'd base my decision on this rather than on other things (like price). Although if you're a buy-and-hold-forever investor or invest only in tax deferred accounts, then perhaps this is not important to you.

 

I've only done taxes by hand and via Turbo Tax Online. I think TTO is OK with some caveats. You should specify your concrete situation if you want more precise suggestions. E.g.: are you self-employed, are you getting stock options, ESPP at work, are you investing in MLPs and need to file K1s, and so on.

 

----------------------------

Potentially off-topic: this year will be yet another step up for me in terms of tax filing complexity.

 

Last year the biggest hurdle was ESPP filing - TurboTax online does not provide good explanations on how to fill this. I had to Bing/Google for suggestions. I found http://thefinancebuff.com/ and I very strongly recommend the site for various topics including tax related ( I have no affiliation with the author except for getting help from him for my questions ).

 

This year, I have IB account - and I seem to have heard that TurboTax Online does not import IB transactions - can anyone confirm or deny this? This would be very helpful.

 

Also I have Husband-and-Wife Sole Proprietorship to report this year. Presumably Turbo Tax handles this.

 

I wonder how much longer I can get through without a CPA. :) (Not that CPA guarantees great filling. My mother had someone fill her trivial 1040EZ and they messed it up. I had to redo it with TT instead...)

 

I just checked TurboTax online and it doesn't bring up IB(Interactive Brokers) when I go to the Import 1099-B.  I use TDAmeritrade from which Turbo Tax can import data but ive never imported my trades from TDAmeritrade. I import the 1099-INT and 1099-DIV and I import the trades through Gainskeeper. If Interactive Brokers works with Gainskeeper you might be able to do the same.

 

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I just switched to IBKR this year. Actually, the import of 1099 is really helpful for me.

 

Does TaxAct import from IBKR? HR Block? TurboTax online? (that's just the web version? Or also, the one you can purchase from Staples and install on your PC)

 

Otherwise, it'll be a lot of typing ahead... Would like to streamline, if possible.

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I just switched to IBKR this year. Actually, the import of 1099 is really helpful for me.

 

Does TaxAct import from IBKR? HR Block? TurboTax online? (that's just the web version? Or also, the one you can purchase from Staples and install on your PC)

 

Otherwise, it'll be a lot of typing ahead... Would like to streamline, if possible.

 

My understanding is that TurboTax online does not import from IBKR but TurboTax standalone (for PC) does.

 

However, I'm still waiting to see if anyone can confirm this.

 

Edit: Interactive Brokers is not part of TT partner list, which means that you cannot import IB forms through TT import interface.

You can save IB information from IB in TXF format and import that into TT - https://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/index.php?f=tax&p=us2 . However, this only works with PC product (standalone). It does not work with TT Online.

 

Since I've been using TT Online up to now, this sucks. I have to either switch to TT standalone or type a lot. Switching to standalone sucks since TT Online has all my info from previous years, which saves a lot of time. Using online and typing sucks since there's tons of IB transactions. :( GRRRR. Another reason to hate IB.

 

Edit2: Directions how to switch from TT Online to TT standalone: https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1901476-move-your-2013-online-return-to-the-2013-turbotax-cd-download-software

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I've used H&R Block every year since 1996 (It was called Taxcut back then).  I've never tried anything else, before that I did my taxes by hand on paper forms.

 

I was a long-time user of Turbo Tax Deluxe until last year when they moved the stock gain/loss functionality to the Premiere version which cost about $80.  I switched to H&R Block software for about $30 and was able to import my Turbo Tax data from the prior year.  Turbo Tax and HR Block software are almost the same in ease of use, but the price difference was huge.

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I've used H&R Block every year since 1996 (It was called Taxcut back then).  I've never tried anything else, before that I did my taxes by hand on paper forms.

 

I was a long-time user of Turbo Tax Deluxe until last year when they moved the stock gain/loss functionality to the Premiere version which cost about $80.  I switched to H&R Block software for about $30 and was able to import my Turbo Tax data from the prior year.  Turbo Tax and HR Block software are almost the same in ease of use, but the price difference was huge.

 

I was not happy when TurboTax moved the stock gain/loss to Premier but I continued to use TurboTax because of importing data from previous years. I did not know you could import data from TurboTax into H&R Block. I already bought Turbotax for 2015 but next year I'll take a serious look at H&R Block.

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