Top positive review
177 people found this helpful
worked fine for me
on December 21, 2011
I just downloaded TT Deluxe, and did my usual preliminary tax computation for 2011. (I'm using Windows 7, on a pretty fast computer, with all Windows updates current.)
I had no problems with the program. It installed with no problems, checked for updates (none), found various copies of my 2010 tax file, allowed me to select one of them. I quickly reviewed the imported 2010 info, and it all looked correct.
I don't use the "import from Quicken" feature, because I find that it sometimes causes problems. Instead, I create reports in Q that I export in TXF format, which I can then import into TT. This worked fine. I couldn't download my brokerage & mutual fund information yet, obviously, since that will not be available until late Jan or early Feb. Same with the W2 info. Instead I entered some info based on my records, just to go through the preliminary calculation. Everything worked as expected. BUT note that some forms (e.g., Sch D) aren't finalized yet, are waiting for the IRS.
One note: Intuit pushes the more expensive Premier version for those with investment income, but you don't need it unless your situation is rather complex. If all you have is mutual funds and some brokerage stock/bond transactions, you're likely to be fine with Deluxe. (If you have option trading, you'll have to look into the details, Deluxe might still be fine.)
NOTE: Thought it might be helpful to briefly report here what TT says about why they recommend Premier; they help if the following apply to you: Unsure of your capital gains? Don't know your cost basis? Confused by ESPP sales?
Also note that in the past I've used H&R Block (aka TaxCut), and have found it to be about as good as TT. If I were paying money, I'd get the one that's cheaper. (I get TT discounts from my fund company, hence it's cheaper for me.)
I'll update this review in Feb after I've done more with the program. (See below.)
Quick note on hidden privacy option:
Just noticed that Intuit hid a privacy option nice and deep. Go into Help-About, and select the Privacy tab. You'll see a box to permit sharing metrics about your usage. Seems perfectly reasonable and harmless, but it annoys me that they felt it was ok to hide it like that. So guess what, I unchecked it. You can decide for yourself, I don't think it's a big deal either way.
Since my review above I've been able to download the state program, and it did fine with my preliminary information. Full test will wait until I have all my data.
I ran into a problem with W-2 imports: the program won't let me enter cents in the box 1 & box 5 fields, just whole dollars, but then the import fails saying data mismatch. Interesting. I spent about 40 minutes in a chat session with someone in tech support, who was unable to provide any useful information at all. (Began with the usual "it works on my machine". I used to say "ok, then ship me your machine".) Intuit brags about the excellent US-based tech support, but I was unimpressed.
There have been many bug fix updates over the last few weeks (at least 5, maybe more), which is good in the sense that they're delivering fixes quickly as they have them. (No one's found a way to create bug-free software yet, of course!) I've not run into any problems lately, and the W-2 problem I mentioned above was also fixed (I can't fully test it, not having multiple paychecks).
One good thing to report: my state tax return (MA) took very little time to do and review: the initial data entry captures just about all the useful information that transfers neatly to the state return, and all I had to was to go through the yes/no stuff and then review the return.
One area TT could improve: the entry of capital gain transactions is unnecessarily tedious, requiring that you go through several screens for each transaction. This became particularly annoying when I had to go through them to correct a set of errors I found in my data (incorrect records). It would be so much easier to have an option to enter the transactions on a table. (No, the "quick entry" spreadsheet doesn't do it for me, it's an ugly user interface in my opinion, makes it too easy to make errors.)
On another note: I used TT to do some what-if calculations related to getting a Schedule K-1 from an S-corp (with "material participation"), and found it quite useful. When you get to this kind of thing the program doesn't really help you much, you have to know the tax laws and rules (or learn quickly!) in order to do the right things. But at least I was able to have the program do the calcs for me, which saved me a ton of time.
In summary, I found this year's TT to be a pretty good program, worth the 4 stars I initially gave it, with enough shortcomings to fall short of a 5-star product.