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OT: Which tax software is the best?


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Initial post: Feb 19, 2013 2:17:05 PM PST
Which tax software is the best and which do you use?

I actually owe money this year (Yes! I didn't overpay my taxes for the first time ever) so I won't be filing until the deadline.

In the mean time I plan to run my numbers on all of the major brands; Turbotax, HR Block, Tax Slayer etc.

Are there any others that are even better that I'm over looking?

Posted on Feb 19, 2013 2:18:38 PM PST
WeaKeN says:
last year i compared TurboTax and TaxACT. both gave me the exact same refund.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2013 2:20:51 PM PST
If you do your taxes correctly, they should all give them same refund amount, short of maybe rounding differences.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2013 2:22:54 PM PST
WeaKeN says:
yup true. maybe i should have said they were both similar in ease of use. maybe if you have complicated taxes one or the other might miss something. i have simple taxes so i can't comment much on how much in depth each program goes.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2013 2:23:37 PM PST
Well I've already run Turbotax and Tax Slayer and with Turbotax I owe $1200 and Tax Slayer I owe $800.

I figured all of the calculations would be the same too, but now that everything is online and free to start it's worth my time to see if I can save any money by using different software.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2013 2:25:27 PM PST
WeaKeN says:
make sure you run through each deduction wizard to make sure you're covering all of your bases. other than that, pretty odd that those 2 gave you significant differences.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2013 2:44:12 PM PST
Yeah I double checked, and everything I entered was identical. In fact I had my Turbotax website open to copy all of my info over to Tax Slayer.

I need to check out TaxAct after I run my numbers for HR Block. I'll post my findings.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2013 6:30:45 AM PDT
Ok so I said I'd report my findings. I ran HR Block/Taxcut, Turbotax and Tax Slayer. They all gave me the same State refund, but they were all different for what I owed the federal government.

HR Block/Taxcut: $1325 owe
Turbotax: $1075 owe
Tax Slayer: $538 owe

I don't know why they're so different or why my state taxes are all the same, but there you go.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2013 6:32:13 AM PDT
I use tax slayer and never had any issues the last 3 years, plus its normally free or discounted for military depending on options you want

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2013 6:32:15 AM PDT
That's kind of scary ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2013 6:54:39 AM PDT
Yeah I've always used HR Block. But this year was a crazy year for me and I knew I was going to owe money. I figured I'd try Turbotax, since it's the biggest, and my father-in-law suggested Tax Slayer saying they saved a bunch of money when they owed.

@ Emily
Scary? Scary how much I've been over paying my taxes all these years?

Posted on Mar 29, 2013 6:57:28 AM PDT
I think she's commenting that it's scary that the fact that your amount owed is vastly different between software makers. You're clearly doing something wrong with one of them.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2013 6:58:03 AM PDT
HR block was the only one that allowed me to take my home office deduction properly.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2013 7:01:21 AM PDT
Obviously you are clicking something differently - Tax Slayer probably words a question differently - the only way you would know the difference is to pay the money to two of them and print out the actual return to see what the different calculation is.

You want to be careful because if Tax Slayer is giving you a deduction or credit you are not entitled to the IRS could very well find out and ask for there money back plus penalties.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2013 7:12:50 AM PDT
He could be doing something wrong in the other software causing him to pay more. However, in accounting there is a rule of conservatism that dictates you go with the method that creates the lower income. I would go with the software that has you owing the most in this case, as there is less chance of an audit coming up and showing you did owe this and the subsequent penalties for this.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2013 7:33:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 29, 2013 7:33:55 AM PDT
Its tough to say. If its a legitimate credit or deduction the other software is not picking up than he is overpaying but if its not legitimate than yes it is a red flag.

The only way to be sure is to actually print the returns and compare them side by side.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2013 7:41:10 AM PDT
bfore13 says:
Conservatism might account for the difference between HR Block and Turbotax but the Tax Slayer # looks like something is missing. I also only thought that rule applied when you're doing things like financial statements where you have market value vs. fair value, etc. With taxes, if you fill out the forms correctly, I'd think the tax amounts would be pretty close.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2013 7:44:44 AM PDT
Perfectly right... I think that after I printed out my return, I'd take it to someone who can check over it to make sure it's accurate before efiling it, just to be on the safe side. Even a friend or someone who is pretty comfortable with Federal returns.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2013 7:45:54 AM PDT
The tax software is tricky.

I fought with multiple programs last year trying to get the home office deduction I was entitled to. I knew how to fill it out on the forms but to find the right question to answer yes to on the programs was a bear.

I advise anyone that has a more complicated return to at least have familiarity with how the return should look when prepared properly. Answering yes to a poorly worded question could get you an audit...

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2013 7:58:27 AM PDT
bfore13 says:
True, the questions sometime make it difficult to fill the forms out correctly and you may need to adjust the forms manually. I still have an issue with the HSA questions in H&R Block as the default assumption is that your distributions weren't medically-related. This year I found that IRA & Roth contribution penalties from 2010 or prior years were still being applied in the form.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2013 8:04:50 AM PDT
Oh, you're right, I was using conservatism out of context, but I think it works in this context too. :)

"With taxes, if you fill out the forms correctly,"

Clearly something is being filled out incorrectly here and he should go back and fix it, but if he's going to just choose one, choosing the one that if he's audited would NOT cause him further harm seems to be the best fit.

Posted on Mar 29, 2013 8:11:38 AM PDT
Theoretically they should all be the same since the calculations they're using aren't unique to the software, but to the IRS. That's odd. One time I did TurboTax and TaxCut (I believe) and they came out exactly the same to the cent.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2013 8:17:56 AM PDT
The old axiom with computers is "Garbage In, Garbage Out"

Posted on Mar 29, 2013 8:39:50 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 29, 2013 8:41:49 AM PDT
I used TaxSlayer this year. Got a much bigger refund. $3000 with TaxSlayer and only $2600 with Turbo Tax. I e-filed through TaxSlayer obvisouly. I doubt the IRS is going to hunt you down for a few hundred bucks, they usually go after the big culprits. H&R Block one year told me that I owed money when it turned out that I didn't have to owe owe anything and got a small refund with TurboTax at the time.

ADVISE FOR EVERYBODY: DON'T USE H&R BLOCK.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2013 9:01:06 AM PDT
wow.

I can just imagine the life of the IRS auditor so many stupid people so little time.
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This discussion

Discussion in:  Video Games forum
Participants:  10
Total posts:  32
Initial post:  Feb 19, 2013
Latest post:  Mar 29, 2013

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