Midday Fix: Kiplinger’s Sandra Block rates tax preparation software

Sandra Block

Sandra’s Ratings:

TurboTax

Pros:
Newer version easier to read and navigate.
Ability to electronically import information from employers and financial institutions
Pointing out deductions and credits you might overlook

Cons:
Most expensive tax preparation program reviewed

H&R Block

Pros:
Offers a ‘Best of Both’ option to have a tax professional review your return.
Provides a comprehensive list of all forms needed to file your return.

Cons:
Can`t import tax documents from as many institutions as TurboTax.

TaxAct

Pros:
No-nonsense style.
Anybody can prepare and e-file a federal tax return free.
TaxAct`s Ultimate Bundle reasonably priced.

Cons:
Limited import capabilities.

TaxSlayer

Pros
Anyone can file free federal return.

Cons:
Doesn`t provide much tax expert support.
Can`t import most financial documents.

2 comments

  • Julie

    Self preparation is great as long as you know the rules.
    Did you know that you cannot claim the refundable portion of the American Opportunity Credit (Education Credit) if you are under 24 and one of your parents is living? or if you are a International Student in the U.S. on a Student Visa?
    Did you know that in order to take the filing status of Head of Household you must have a dependent who is related to you by birth or marriage?
    Did you know that if you are married but don't live with your spouse, no matter for how long, you can only file as Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately or maybe Head of Household but never as Single.
    Doing taxes are "simple" except for the mountains of exceptions to every rule that is in the IRS tax code.

  • TaxPro

    IF you and your spouse are separated – not living together – for the last 6 months of the tax year, you can file as single if you have no dependents. So even you got confused on the exceptions.

    As a tax professional, I will state that these DIY tax programs work for those with W2 income and maybe some interest income. If your situation is any more complicated than that, a tax professional should be consulted. And when I say tax professional, I mean someone that has been trained and prepared taxes for a number of years, not the one that took a 2 week crash course so they could get a job at one of the big chains.

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