Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur
jducoeur

Product Review: TurboTax

Having spent yesterday working through TurboTax, it's worth taking a minute to record my observations.

Overall: really, better than I expected. We've never bothered buying tax-prep software before -- our finances aren't all that complicated, and we're both good at numbers and following directions. But my mother wanted to use it for her taxes this year, and since it was just sitting there on the desktop machine, we figured we might as well give it a spin.

I don't think it saved us a ton of time per se. Gathering up all the appropriate paperwork was still the biggest task, and it still took a couple of hours to work through the program. This isn't really surprising: it still needed to gather all the information we would need for doing it manually. And it actually took *longer* to calculate the charitable deductions, because it is more persnickety than we really need at that point. (It wants us to enter the details about each charity, whereas we would normally just take all the receipts and total the number, so there was a lot of extra typing.) It probably saved about an hour of our time -- maybe worth the $37, maybe not.

That said, the improvement in *stress* was considerable. Sitting there with the calculator and worrying about misplaced decimal points is an aggravating part of doing the taxes ourselves, and making sure we do all the calculations right even moreso. It's stuff we can do easily, but there's a good deal of worry about having done it correctly. So having the software deal with all the calculations is a significant relief: we still have to double-check the data entry, but that's easier than double-checking the calculations themselves.

Not to mention the fact that, since it deals with the state calculations, it means we don't have to go through the horror of the MA State phone-based tax system, which is always unbelievably tedious. It's well worth paying for a stamp and sending in the paper copy instead, if it means we don't have to sit through that.

So the result is that we both came out of the process less cranky than usual. *That* is probably worth the money, so I suspect we'll buy it again next year...
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