Top positive review
121 people found this helpful
good product at a good price (updated)
on December 15, 2009
(Note: This review also shows up in the reviews for the download version. Don't ask me why Amazon doesn't show the reviews in both places for what's really the same product, with just different delivery mechanisms. I bought the box version, if you want to know.)
This part written Dec 9, 2009 (see updated comments below)
This is of course a preliminary review (written Dec 9 based on use in the last few days). At this time one can't do more than a rough cut estimate of the tax return -- the IRS forms aren't finalized, the state forms aren't available, and of course the various income reports (W2, 1099, etc.) aren't out yet.
I don't have a super complicated tax situation this year: it just requires some things that a good tax program should handle easily. So far this program seems to do just fine. I found it easy to use, and found that imports from Quicken and from TXF files worked without any problems. Schedules A, B, and D worked just fine, and the related screens were easy to use and understand. Excess FICA was calculated correctly, as was the child tax credit. The AMT calculation does of course remain weirdly complicated (once a year I mutter to myself about all politicians in DC), but the program does take care of it with no apparent problems.
I used TaxCut last year -- chose it over TurboTax just because of cost, and was quite satisfied. I'm not convinced this year either that you get value for the extra you pay for TT. (Incidentally, note that if you have investment income you probably need to get TT Premium, so the price would be nearly double that of HRB Deluxe.)
A warning I wrote in my review last year seems worth repeating: Don't expect a tax program to apply tax laws correctly in all circumstances; for anything at all out of the ordinary, make sure you double-check against an IRS guide or another guide like JK Lasser's. The folks who design and write and test the programs make mistakes, too. And for the same reason, give the calculations a sanity check, don't just use the program blindly, or you could get tripped up by a software bug that wasn't caught.
I will update this review in Jan/Feb when I've had a chance to do more with it.
Update Jan 29, 2010:
I have now done a first complete pass on my taxes, based on W2s, 1099s, and some projected 1099s. I also have had an opportunity to use TurboTax Deluxe (I got a free copy, legally), so have been able to compare the two products.
I continue to like HRB Deluxe. It's easy to use, and has been trouble-free. There are a couple of things I particularly like, that might be worth mentioning. (1) They show you when the next update is expected, so you don't waste your time running the update check until there is something. (2) Entering info from interest paying mutual funds that might have muni income (tax-free for Fed) is simple: HRB gives you a simple way to enter the amount that's tax-free in your state, and takes care of it without hassle. TT can also deal with this, but I don't like their way as much (they create a separate 1099 to split the income into two parts).
Interestingly, TTD is also noticeably slower starting up than HRBD. Don't know why.
The one advantage TT does have over HRB is on coverage of automated downloads: TT can download your 1099 info from a larger set of institutions than can HRB. W2 downloads look the same between the two. This does save some time, and could be sufficient to be a decider for some. Not for me.