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s/o Taxes: what software do you use to prepare your own?


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I've used Turbo Tax since 2009 I think. This year they no longer support my OS, and I can't upgrade my computer for various reasons. So, I need to find a new tax program. Someone has recommended FreeTaxUSA online, but I'm wondering if anyone has had experience with it or another program that works well. My tax situation does not require an accountant, and my budget prefers smaller priced items 🙂 Does anyone have a DIY tax program they like that isn't Turbo Tax?

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Our income gives us free tax prep although I could do them by hand since I used to be an accountant. I usually use Turbo Tax; they wanted me to pay this year because the Savers credit is on a separate form this year. It's been free every year before. So I used H&R Block online. Free and easy peasy. Both Turbo Tax and H&R Block showed the same amount due back, so I am pretty confident in the calculation. 

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When I used to do our taxes, which was for years and years and years until they became too difficult about two years ago, I always used TaxAct. I think I tried TurboTax one year and it wasn’t as user-friendly.

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Turbo Tax. If our taxes are more complicated (like when we owned a business and had employees) then we use an accountant. We didn't really have time or interest in saving a few hundred dollars to do it ourselves. They did our business and personal. Once we had only personal again....we used Turbo Tax.

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I just use free file fillable forms.  Which is basically just doing them by hand for free e-file.  Our federal taxes are super simple, and yet, every time I have tried actual software, it takes longer to answer all the stupid questions that just don't apply to me, plus it usually screws up somehow and I have to go in and find the mistake.  

 

Our state taxes have been rather complicated for the last few years because of living in one state and working in another, but there's a reciprocity agreement and tax software isn't built for that sort of thing.  So I have been doing state taxes by hand, on paper, and mailing them in, for the last several years.  I will do so again this year, since we moved.  I am hopeful I can find a free e-file for here now that we are living and working in the same state.  I am looking forward to figuring out how the state taxes here work exactly so that I can tailor our state withholdings properly.  

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I used TaxAct for years. First, I Downloaded their App and installed it to my Windows PC, but then after several  years, I began using their Online version. First years I used their Free service and then I upgraded to their Premium service. I was a very happy camper with TaxAct.  Then, about 2 tax returns ago, I went to their web site, to begin the  Federal return I needed to prepare and I think the company was purchased (?) and there was a huge price increase.  I decided to look around.

On the I.R.S. web site one of the Online companies that was there was FreeTaxUSA.   I used them for about 2 years, and they were fine. But for my 2017 return, I couldn't use them, because we have an Overseas Mailing Address. Worked fine the year before, but...

I contacted them on Twitter (?) and the response was that it was because of EU (European Union) regulations.  We are in South America and I have no connection with the EU.

So, then I looked around again on the I.R.S. web site.  I ended up, for the first time in my life, using TurboTax, which you want to move away from.  The return I prepared for my DD for 2017 was submitted via TaxACT.  

IMO the Online services are possibly/probably more up-to-date than any Application you could download to your local machine. 

I need to file a Schedule C and other than that our tax situation is pretty simple and I was looking for Free eFile for the Federal returns. We do not need to file a State return.  

Edited by Lanny
typo: I added a space
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OP you wrote that you had used TurboTax for years.  I suspect that you might be a little more comfortable, if you switch to TurboTax Online.  Preferably, a Free version. You can begin here on the IRS web site, to see which companies might give you free eFile for your Federal return:

https://apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile/jsp/wizard.jsp

Until my 2017 Federal return, I had never used TurboTax, because when I looked at it, due to my need for a Schedule C, I remember telling my wife, years ago, "With TurboTax it would cost me $70. With TaxAct it is Free or $8."

 

ETA: FreeTaxUSA says if you don't qualify for Free, a Federal and State return is zero to $12.95:

https://www.freetaxusa.com/freefile/

Edited by Lanny
add ETA
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2 minutes ago, Lanny said:

OP you wrote that you had used TurboTax for years.  I suspect that you might be a little more comfortable, if you switch to TurboTax Online.  Preferably, a Free version. You can begin here on the IRS web site, to see which companies might give you free eFile for your Federal return:

https://apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile/jsp/wizard.jsp

Until my 2017 Federal return, I had never used TurboTax, because when I looked at it, due to my need for a Schedule C, I remember telling my wife, years ago, "With TurboTax it would cost me $70. With TaxAct it is Free or $8."

 

I had thought about that but figured since I was switching platform anyway (desktop version to online), I should see if there's a better option since the last time I looked, a lot can change in 10 years. I do have self employment income so TurboTax for me would be $80 or so I think. It does look like there are other online options that can do the same, and for much less. 

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1 hour ago, Moonhawk said:

 

 I do have self employment income so TurboTax for me would be $80 or so I think. It does look like there are other online options that can do the same, and for much less. 

It probably depends on the type of self employment you have but some of the basic stuff can be done in the deluxe version (which I paid $40 for).  We're not sending on forms to others or carrying inventory.  My DH does consulting on the side, he has a few expenses related to software he has to purchase, sometimes things that have to be depreciated.  We don't claim a home office expense but the Deluxe version always asks if it wants me to be walked through it so that functionality much be in the deluxe version too.  So don't assume you have to have a higher priced version for self employment (although I'm sure they'd love to have you think that).

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