Friday, January 7, 2011

Tax Preparation Software (Tax Year 2010)

Last week, I received a copy of H&R Block At Home tax preparation software for tax year 2010 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.

This year the H&R Block At Home CD-ROM that I received in the mail did not include a $10 rebate coupon for store purchases of their software. Nevertheless, it usually ends up being cheaper for me to buy this tax software through a retail store (such as, Best Buy, or Office Depot) rather than installing the version I received in the mail. In the past, I've also noticed that some retailers will offer a free gift card or anti-virus software with purchase of any tax software, so I will usually hold out until I see a similar deal.

As far as tax software is concerned, I have always used the Deluxe or Premium "desktop" version of the tax software, which includes the state version of the tax preparation software. This year, H&R Block At Home has adopted the TurboTax naming convention for their products (i.e., Basic, Deluxe, Premium, and Business).

Tax Preparation Software pricing for Tax Year 2010.
TY 2010 ProductBasicDeluxe w/StatePremium w/StateBusiness w/State
Block At Home$20$45$65$80
TurboTax $30$60$90$100

Both Block At Home and TurboTax offer a "Deluxe" version that does not include state tax preparation for $35 and $50, respectively. So, it works out to be $10 cheaper to go without the state. However, this version is NOT recommended unless you live in a state without state income tax. The prices quoted here are the list prices and are subject to change. In fact, I can practically guarantee that these prices will fluctuate throughout the tax season.

I also want remind readers that TurboTax is offering to answer tax questions for free. Here is a link to the Intuit offer from TurboTax. My main criticism about this offer is that it is only good until the end of January 2011. H&R Block offers the Get It Right Community where users can ask tax questions which are typically answered by one of their tax professionals.

For a chance to win free tax preparation software, please enter the PFStock 2011 Tax Tips Contest. There will be 5 weekly drawings in this giveaway for online tax preparation from H&R Block At Home.

Lastly, below is the same table as above with the current pricing for each of the software titles I've mentioned.

Current Prices for Tax Software.
BasicDeluxe w/StatePrem. w/StateBusiness w/State

Note to Commenters: If you represent a company such as Intuit, H&R Block, Microsoft, Amazon, etc., please leave your contact information or send me an Email (my Email address is listed in the sidebar) to let me know that you left a comment. If I cannot determine that your comment is authentic, it will be deleted.


No comments: