Wednesday, December 23, 2009

H&R Block At Home (formerly TaxCut)

Last week, I received a copy of H&R Block At Home (that is the new name for TaxCut) tax preparation software in the mail. I have noticed that if you register your copy of either TaxCut or TurboTax with the manufacturer, they will automatically send you a CD-ROM with their software for the following year. H&R Block did this again. If you get one of these package in the mail, don't be fooled into thinking that you are getting something for nothing. Usually, you aren't aware of the cost of the software until you insert the CD-ROM into your computer and read through the fine print. This time, H&R Block was a little more transparent about the pricing. It printed "Only $34.95" on the front of the DVD case that it came in. But, for most people the $34.95 version of the software will not be adequate for their needs. Expect to spend at least $45 if you plan on filing a state tax return.

The H&R Block At Home (formerly TaxCut) CD-ROM that I received in the mail did have a $10 rebate coupon for purchases from certain stores (specifically, Best Buy, Target, Office Depot, Microcenter, Staples, and Fry's Electronics). So, it usually ends up being cheaper for me to buy this tax software through a retail store rather than installing the version I received in the mail. In the past, I've noticed that some retailers offer a free movie DVD with purchase of Taxcut, so I will usually hold out until I see a similar deal.

As a side note, H&R Block used to offer a rebate for certain financial software (e.g., Microsoft Money) with the purchase of TaxCut. But, MS Money has been discontinued by Microsoft. The 2008 version (Microsoft Money Plus) was the last planned version of this financial software. (I might consider converting everything over to Intuit's Quicken in the future.)

As far as tax software is concerned, I have always used the Premium "desktop" version of the tax software, which includes the state version of the tax preparation software. This year it looks like H&R Block At Home has adopted the TurboTax naming calling their product "Deluxe" rather than Premium. An online version is available for both TurboTax and TaxCut, which I have not used. I also haven't tried using e-file yet, but I might consider it this year.

One last thing that I wanted to bring up is that TurboTax is offering to answer tax questions for free. Here is a link to the Intuit offer from TurboTax. My main criticism that I have about this offer is that it is only good until the end of January 2010. I would guess that the average person doesn't even get started with their taxes until February or March. By that time, they will be too late to take advantage of this free advice.

So, what tax software do you use?

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Tax preparation said...

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GoingForGold said...

I used to do IT work for several tax and accounting firms. They mostly used Quickbooks and TurboTax.

Personally, I've never tried my own taxes. A few years ago it probably could have been managable, just filing a 1040EZ, but it always made more sense to have H&R Block do it since they managed to find a few credits here and there.

Now, between a rental house I'm upside down on, a higher income bracket, and a HUGE number of deductions and expenses, the tax guy I was recommended to suggests itemization. This doubles the amount of work, right? It seems much more worthwhile to pay someone $250ish to sort it all out for me, and another $75 to know that if i ever get audited, they're my first line of defense.

Maybe it's easier than it sounds though. I dunno.

Love the blog. Any luck getting Yodlee to track stocks you own outside of a brokerage firm? For instance, 200 shares of Microsoft at current value added to your net worth, not through an etrade or scottrade account Or the spot price of gold and silver? Customer Service doesn't seem to know how. It's the one major flaw with Yodlee i've found.



Excellent post